Rangers stay close, Astros drop 11th in row - NBC Sports

Rangers stay close, Astros drop 11th in row
APWF
Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre looks to third base coach Gary Pettis (24) as he heads to home plate after hitting a home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, in Arlington, Texas.(AP Photo/John F. Rhodes)
September 24, 2013, 11:34 pm

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Adrian Beltre homered at home for the first time in more than a month and the Texas Rangers stayed close in the wild-card race, beating Houston 3-2 Tuesday night and sending the Astros to their 11th straight loss.

With five games left in the regular season, Texas remained a game behind Cleveland for the AL's second wild-card spot. Tampa Bay is a game ahead of the Indians in a crowded pack.

Matt Dominguez homered for the Astros. Their 107th loss overall matched the franchise record set last year.

The Rangers are 16-2 this season against Houston, winning the last 10. It's the most wins Texas has ever had in a season against one team.

Beltre's 29th homer snapped a 2-all tie with one out in the sixth. That came after Yu Darvish gave up the lead in the top half of the inning.

Neal Cotts (6-3) struck out two in a scoreless inning after taking over for Darvish. Joe Nathan, the fourth reliever, worked a perfect ninth for his 41st save in 44 chances.

Rookie Brad Peacock (5-6) struck out seven in six innings while allowing three runs and six hits.

Beltre, who leads the American League with 193 hits, hadn't homered since Aug. 28 at Seattle. His last at home had been Aug. 20, also against the Astros.

Darvish threw 101 pitches but failed to get past the sixth inning for the third time his five starts in September, even while going over 200 innings for the season. The right-hander also immediately gave up a Rangers lead for the fifth time this year.

Texas went ahead 2-1 in the fifth when Craig Gentry had a leadoff single before a sacrifice bunt by Leonys Martin and a run-scoring hit by Ian Kinsler. Gentry scored while third baseman Dominguez cut off left fielder Marc Krauss' throw and threw out Kinsler trying to get to second.

Dominguez then led off the top of the sixth with a homer that ricocheted off the left-field foul pole. It was his 21st of the season, and third off Darvish.

Two batters later, Darvish was gone after walking Trevor Crowe, a .231 hitter, for the second consecutive time.

Darvish struck out nine and walked four while allowing four hits in 5 1-3 innings. Twice this season, Darvish took no-hit bids against Houston into the eighth inning.

The Astros loaded the bases in the first on Jose Altuve's single and two walks, and Chris Carter's sacrifice made it 1-0.

Beltre drew a leadoff walk in the fourth and scored on Geovany Soto's single to tie it at 1.

NOTES: Texas won 15 games against Seattle in 2011. ... The last MLB team with at least 16 wins against the same opponent was Boston, which went 16-2 against Baltimore in 2009. ... Suspended Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz, who would be eligible for the playoffs, was 5 for 15 with a homer in this first four instructional league games in Arizona. ... Rangers RF Alex Rios, who hit for the cycle Monday, stole his 40th base.

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