A barrage of home runs and a critical fielding error carried the Houston Astros to a 13-6 win over the Texas Rangers into a first-place tie with the Seattle Mariners in the American League West on Monday.
Houston erupted for six runs in the seventh inning, breaking the game open after a 5-5 tie, as the teams combined for a Globe Life Park record nine home runs.
“Tonight, we got caught a little shorthanded in the bullpen,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy told members of the media postgame. “You’re hoping those guys come through for you, and they struggled. That was the story of the game.”
The Astros loaded the bases against the Rangers’ bullpen in the seventh and scored the tie-breaking run on a walk. Texas had a chance to limit the damage, but shortstop Corey Seager misplayed a ground ball, allowing two more runs. The next hitter hit a three-run home run to break open the game.
“You’re going to make errors in this game,” Bochy said. “This guy’s been so good out there, I couldn’t tell you the last time he made an error. I want the ball hit to him. It happens. I don’t care who you are out there.”
The Astros added two more runs in the ninth, as Jose Altuve and Mauricio Dubon hit back-to-back home runs for the second time in the game. Josh Smith added a home run for the Rangers in the bottom of the inning, but the damage had been done.
The defending World Series champion Astros fell out of first place during a series with the New York Yankees over the weekend but returned to first place with 23 games remaining.
The Rangers, who had been in first place for most of the season until a recent losing skid, are now in third — one game behind Houston and Seattle. Texas currently holds the last of three wild card playoff spots in the American League with a half-game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Monday’s game was the first of a three-game set, which continues at 7:05 p.m. CT on Tuesday as Texas’ Nathan Eovaldi (11-3, 2.69 ERA) takes the mound against Houston’s Framber Valdez (10-9, 3.38 ERA).