Astros arrive in Florida with heavy hearts
(c) Associated Press
Forced to host their in-state rivals at an out-of-state venue, Mike Fiers and the Astros were walloped by the Rangers 12-2 in St. Petersburg, Florida Tuesday night. At the behest of Hurricane Harvey and the MLB Commissioner's office (with a little help from Jon Daniels) the Astros set up temporary residence at the home of the Tampa Bay Rays, but their focus was clearly back home with loved ones in Houston struggling through the storm and subsequent flooding.
Fiers dropped to 8-9 for the year, giving up eight runs on eight hits and three walks in just four innings of work. Although all eight of the runs were counted as earned, the defense didn't do Fiers any favors. The 'Stros failed to convert on two separate double-play opportunities, forcing Houston's starting pitcher into a high pitch count and a couple of big innings.
Frances Martes didn't have much luck on the mound either. The rookie got two quick outs to start the fifth and had Rougned Odor struck out to seemingly end the inning. But the strike three pitch was in the dirt and, by the time Evan Gattis corralled it and threw to first, the hustling Odor had beaten the play. Two batters later Shin-Soo Choo drilled a 3-run homer.
Elvis Andrus led the Rangers 14-hit attack with four hits and three runs scored. Choo and Adrian Beltre contributed three hits each and Joey Gallo added a 2-run shot.
Alex Bregman continued to swing a hot bat for the Astros, collecting three hits and driving in one of Houston's two runs on the night. J.D. Davis provided a bit of a pick-me-up on an otherwise dreadful evening with a perfect inning of relief in the ninth that included a low-90's fastball and a strikeout looking on a nasty breaking pitch. The rookie also turned in a 2-for-4 night at the plate after starting the game at third-base.
The road-weary Astros host the Rangers at St. Pete again Wednesday night at 6:10 Central. Dallas Keuchel gets the nod for the home team. Jeff Banister sends right-hander Andrew Cashner to the hill for the Rangers.
- Greg Thurston