Silver Boot Series Tied After First Meeting

Houston Astros celebrate
Yordan Alvarez #44 of the Houston Astros celebrates his two-run home run with Victor Caratini #17 against the Texas Rangers in the second inning | Image by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

The Texas Rangers and Houston Astros left the first four games of the annual Lone Star Series tied with two wins each.

The Rangers won the first two games of the weekend’s four-game series on Friday and Saturday, but Houston bounced back to take Games 3 and 4, tying a season-high with 10 runs in Monday’s finale as the Rangers blew a 5-2 lead after the first inning with Andrew Heaney as the starter.

Heaney will have to be much better as he will face Houston again in his next outing.

“I’m facing the same team again, so I know what not to do,” he joked after Monday’s loss. “I’ve just got to go out there, stay with my routine, do all my work, look at some video tomorrow, and kind of just go through my routine.”

Texas was much better in the first two games, scoring a combined 17 runs as each batter collected a hit for two straight games.

“We have a lineup full of good hitters,” second baseman Marcus Semien explained after Saturday’s win. “We have a lineup full of guys who can hit the ball out of the ballpark. Everybody’s preparing in the cage and during BP and doing everything they need to do to be ready.”

The Astros took over the series on Sunday as starting pitcher Ronel Blanco returned to the mound for the first time since his no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays and held the Rangers to just one hit in six innings.

“He’s got great stuff,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said of Blanco. “He’s coming off a no-hitter and carried that into tonight’s game. … He shut us down. Give him credit. [It’s] pretty impressive the run he’s gotten on in the first two games of the season.”

Rangers pitchers held the Houston offense at bay for much of the series, but sluggers Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker came through late in the series to lead the Astros to wins.

Still, the Rangers are off to a good start, and Bochy said he believes they can keep it going.

“I love the way we’re playing,” Bochy told the media on Saturday. “They’re aggressive on the bases. They’re going hard. They’re running hard down the line and trying to take the extra base and trying to score. That’s contagious. … They’re just playing the game. That’s what they get paid to do, and they’re doing a great job of it.”

The Rangers also added to their harsh early-season injury luck, losing key contributors in reliever Josh Sborz and recent call-up Justin Foscue, who had been recalled from Triple-A due to third baseman Josh Jung’s wrist fracture, to the injured list. Josh Smith played third base all weekend, going 4/12 with two runs scored and two RBIs.

Houston (4-7) and Texas (6-4) will play nine more games against each other this season, six fewer than in years past, and will reconvene this weekend for a three-game set in Houston beginning on Friday night as they try to separate from each other in the AL West and the Lone Star/Silver Boot Series.

The Astros won the series the last three seasons and six of the previous seven. The Rangers hold a 136-134 game-by-game advantage, but the Astros lead the overall Silver Boot Series 10-9-4.

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