Rangers top Astros for 9th time in 10 games

Rangers top Astros for 9th time in 10 games

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers scored three runs in the third, and Prince Fielder added a home run an inning later, to back starter Martin Perez during a 5-3 win against the Astros on Thursday afternoon at Globe Life Park in the finale of the four-game series.

The Rangers have won a franchise-record 10 consecutive home series and have beaten the Astros in nine of their 10 meetings this season.

"Just athleticism, creativity on the field. They're never out of it, they're always in it," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said of his team, which matched the best 60-game start in franchise history with the win. "Engaged -- they play hard, they play with some energy,"

Mitch Moreland, Jurickson Profar and Nomar Mazara each drove in a run in the three-run third off Astros starter Collin McHugh, before Fielder went deep into the right-field seats the next inning. McHugh lasted just 3 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits despite recording six strikeouts. 

"I felt like we executed some pretty good pitches today and didn't execute a couple," McHugh said. "The ones we did execute, they really put the ball in play and found some holes every once in a while, and the ones that we didn't execute, they did damage on. It's pretty simple -- they get guys on base and guys come around to score. Not very pleased with it."

Rougned Odor added a solo shot in the eighth -- his ninth home run of the season -- to pad the lead.

Odor's solo homer

Perez threw six innings and allowed two runs on his way to his fourth straight win. Both runs he allowed came in the third inning, on a sacrifice fly from Evan Gattis and an RBI single from Marwin Gonzalez.

Left-hander Jake Diekman closed things out to pick up his first career save. The Astros were without their No. 3 hitter, shortstop Carlos Correa, from the fifth inning on after he left the game with a sprained left ankle.

"Hopefully I'll be good to go in a couple days," Correa said.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Fielder goes deep, ties Boggs in RBIs: Fielder hit a line drive into the right-field seats to lead off the fourth inning that Statcast™ projected to travel 420 feet, with an exit velocity of 112 mph. Fielder's fourth home run of the season gave the Rangers a 4-2 lead and tied him with Hall of Famer Wade Boggs at No. 269 on the all-time RBI list (1,014). More >

"Anytime you hit the ball hard it feels good, but that one especially did," Fielder said. "Had a good at-bat, fouled off some pitches and got the good pitch and put good contact on it."

Fielder's solo home run

Correa hurt hustling to first: Correa left the game after he was injured trying to beat out a grounder in the fifth inning. Correa's lower left leg buckled as he stepped on first base, and he walked slowly back to the dugout after sitting for a few minutes in the outfield grass while he was being examined by the athletic trainer. X-rays were negative and Correa is not expected to go on the disabled list, though he is unlikely to play Friday.

"Luckily, so far, the evaluation's been as positive as we could expect," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "At this point we're optimistic."

Correa exits game with injury

Barnette leaves with the lead: The Astros got a runner in scoring position right out of the gates in the seventh off right-hander Tony Barnette when Profar's throw to first on a ground ball by Jake Marisnick skipped by Moreland. George Springer moved Marisnick to third with a groundout, then Jose Altuve drove him in with a single to center. Barnette then got Tony Kemp on a flyout to right, but Gattis singled, putting runners on first and third with two outs. After a mound visit from Banister, Barnette got Gonzalez on a liner to second baseman Odor to end the inning and hold the 4-3 lead.

"I take it as coming out there and giving everybody a breather," Barnette said of the mound visit. "[The inning] wasn't going exactly as scripted, but we still had the lead. We stayed focused, hammered it out and got back in the dugout."

Barnette survives a jam in 7th

Altuve can't hang on: McHugh got into trouble in the third inning, allowing a leadoff walk, a double and a single. Still looking for his first out, McHugh got Profar to hit a hard one-hop drive right at second baseman Altuve, but Profar's "bullet," as Hinch called it, went in and out of Altuve's glove as he fell backward, and a run scored on the infield single. The Rangers scored three runs in the inning.

"I think that play has to be made," Altuve said. "I have to catch the ball. I had the double play right there."

Profar's hard-hit RBI single

QUOTABLE
"He had energy in the dugout [Thursday] and came to me and asked me if he was going to pinch-hit, and I told him no." -- Banister, on Adrian Beltre, who left Wednesday's game with tightness in his left hamstring and is listed as day to day

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Altuve made his first Major League appearance at shortstop in his 730th big league game after Correa had to exit. Altuve and Hinch said he takes grounders there before virtually every game and was prepared.

Altuve's debut at shortstop

Diekman gets first career save
In his fifth Major League season, Diekman picked up his first save, throwing a scoreless ninth. He ended the game on an unconventional 4-3-6 double play off the bat of Kemp.

"Oh, yeah. Our defense is nasty. Infield, outfield, everyone," Diekman said.

DP seals Diekman's first save

WHAT'S NEXT
Astros: Houston continues its 10-day, three-city road trip on Friday at 6:10 p.m. CT, opening a three-game series against the Rays in St. Petersburg. Lance McCullers (3-1, 4.23 ERA) will get the start for the Astros.

Rangers: Left-hander Derek Holland (5-4, 4.53 ERA) will get the start for the Rangers as they open a three-game set against the Mariners at 9:10 p.m. CT on Friday at Safeco Field. Holland's last outing came against Seattle, when he set season highs with seven innings and six strikeouts in Texas' 3-2 win.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas.

Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com based in Texas and covered the Astros on Thursday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.