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(Monday, August 19th)
Final Score: Texas 16, Houston 5
Arlington, TX (Sports Network) - A.J. Pierzynski went 4-for-5 with a home run and four RBI, three of which came during an 11-run third inning, in Texas' 16-5 rout of the Houston Astros.
Ian Kinsler knocked in three runs and Leonys Martin finished 3-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored.
The AL West leaders, who notched a season-high in runs, have scored 34 over their last three contests and have won 16 of their last 20 games. They've captured 17 of the last 20 matchups with Houston dating back to last season.
Matt Garza (3-1) had more than enough run support to win for the eighth time in his last nine decisions. He allowed eight hits and five runs, and struck out eight over 6 2/3 innings.
Lucas Harrell (6-14), who had worked out of the bullpen in his previous four games, was shelled for seven hits and nine runs -- seven earned -- over 2 1/3 innings in the start.
"It's a confidence-booster for me. I feel really good about the way I threw the ball," Harrell said. "The results were I gave up a lot of runs, but on the positive side I got back to getting ground balls. It's huge for me. That's what I need to do."
Robbie Grossman drove in two runs for the Astros, who fell to 5-13 this month.
Kinsler hit a sacrifice fly in the first inning to a leaping Grossman in center, and the Rangers pulled off a double-steal later in the frame for a 2-0 lead. With men at the corners, Pierzynski struck out swinging, but Elvis Andrus was running on the play from third. Catcher Carlos Corporan threw to second base, and shortstop Jonathan Villar made the catch well in front of the base, allowing Adrian Beltre to also steal.
"Andrus read the catcher. I didn't have a double-steal on," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
Jason Castro and Chris Carter hit back-to-back doubles to start the second inning, but the Rangers sent 15 men to the plate in the third to take a commanding 13-1 lead.
Texas had just one extra-base hit, a two-run double from Mitch Moreland over the head of Grossman in center field. That extended the lead to 6-1, two batters after Pierzynski had a two-run ground single to right field.
Wade LeBlanc replaced Harrell with the bases full, and the Astros had a chance to escape the inning, but a costly error kept it going. David Murphy hit a grounder to second baseman Jose Altuve, who flipped the ball directly from his glove to Villar, but he dropped the ball, which allowed two runs to score.
Another miscue, this one by third baseman Matt Dominguez, plated another run. Kinsler tacked on a two-run base hit to left field, Beltre grounded out for a run and Pierzynski added his third RBI of the frame with a bloop single to left.
Every Texas player scored in the inning, which produced a season-high in runs.
Martin singled in a run in the fourth and added an RBI groundout in the sixth.
Grossman hit a two-run double during Houston's four-run seventh before Pierzynski homered to right off Philip Humber in the bottom of the inning to cap the scoring in the opener of this three-game set. It was Texas' first homer in the last five contests.
Jake Elmore replaced Corporan at catcher and later pitched and retired the side in order in the eighth.
Before the game, the Astros selected the contract of LeBlanc from Oklahoma City and optioned outfielder Marc Krauss to the Triple-A club ... The Rangers are 39-16 against teams in their own division ... Beltre has 18 RBI in his last 19 games ... With his appearance at catcher and pitcher, Elmore has been at every position in the field this season with the exception of center field.
08/20 01:59:41 ET
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