Astros drill Darvish for second consecutive time

Singleton leads way with three RBIs for seventh win in a row over Texas

Astros drill Darvish for second consecutive time

HOUSTON -- The tone was set by Astros outfielder Robbie Grossman, who battled Rangers ace Yu Darvish for 11 pitches before reaching base to start the first inning. By the time the first was over, the Astros had a two-run lead and a weary Darvish had thrown 31 pitches.

The Astros continued to chip away at the right-hander for four-plus innings, fouling balls off and working walks to escalate his pitch count. He was finally pulled from the game after throwing 113 pitches without recording an out in the fifth inning.

The Astros, playing without three of their top injured offensive players in Jose Altuve, George Springer and Dexter Fowler, rocked Darvish for nine hits and six runs -- five earned -- in four innings to beat the Rangers for the seventh consecutive time, 8-3, at Minute Maid Park.

"They beat up on us pretty good last year and it's good to turn the tables a little bit," said Grossman, who scored three runs and reached base in four of five plate appearances.

Darvish (10-7) has allowed 19 hits and 12 runs (11 earned) in 10 innings in his last two starts against the Astros. He was 3-1 with a 2.30 ERA in his first six career starts against the Astros, coming within an out of a perfect game on April 2, 2013 and holding them to one hit in eight scoreless innings on Sept. 24, 2013.

Saturday marked his first career loss in four starts in Houston.

"Although I struggled I was able to get through four innings and minimized the damage," Darvish said. "But I gave up that initial hit in the fifth inning with no outs and they were able to get some more hits and the rest was history."

Jason Castro, Chris Carter, Jon Singleton, Matt Dominguez and Jake Marisnick each had two hits for the Astros, who were 5-for-17 with runners in scoring position. It's only the second time this year the Astros have scored eight runs or more without hitting a homer.

"When you look at the way we played against them last year, a man to a man when we got ready to play them this year, that's something that kind of ate at us because of the dominance they had against us last year," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "At the same time, we've played good baseball and it's all about timing when you play people. We've played some of our best baseball at the times we played them."

Scott Feldman (6-8), who spent most of his career with Texas, had his seventh quality start in his last nine outings, holding the Rangers to three runs and eight hits while striking out six batters in 6 1/3 innings. He's won consecutive starts for the first time since his first two starts of the season.

"I just ran out of gas there at the end," he said. "For the most part of the game, I felt pretty good and felt pretty similar to my last three games and hopefully I can continue with that."

Darvish walked two of the first three batters he faced, and both scored -- Grossman scored on a Singleton RBI single, and Carter scored on an error by second baseman Roughned Odor.

The Astros maintained their 2-0 lead before erupting for four runs in the fifth inning against Darvish. The first six hitters of the inning reached base. Singleton had a two-run, bases-loaded double, Matt Dominguez had an RBI single to chase Darvish and Marwin Gonzalez singled on the first pitch by Nate Adcock to make it 6-0.

"Robbie Grossman set the tone tonight with that first at-bat," Porter said. "That's some kind of AB and I think the rest of the guys pretty much just followed suit and put up quality at-bat after quality at-bat until you look up and it's 110 pitches or something after four innings."

Feldman gave up a two-run homer to Jim Adduci in the sixth and left in the seventh with one out and the bases loaded, holding a 7-2 lead. Josh Fields allowed a sacrifice fly to Elvis Andrus before striking out Daniel Robertson to end the inning.

"I put [Fields] in a terrible position, but luckily he came in there and did good and minimized the damage for us," Feldman said. "He's been a big part of our bullpen all year. He's been doing a good job. I wasn't nervous he was coming in, but I hate leaving the field with three guys on base like that and one out."

Brian McTaggart is reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.