Houston starter Charlie Morton struck out a career-high 14 batters, leading the Astros to a 6-1 victory over the Arlington Rangers. Morton allowed just four hits, one run, and no walks in his seven innings.
Morton salts away a win
(c) AP Photo/Michael Wyke
The Astros' bats, which have been AWOL recently at the Juice Box, picked an opportune time to reappear, especially coming off their one-hit embarrassment Friday night.
Morton and Rangers starter Doug "Twisted" Fister traded zeroes until the third inning when Arlington's Ronald Guzman poked a 404-foot drive over the right field fence to put the Rangers ahead 1-0. Astros DH Evan Gattis answered right back with an RBI single up the middle to plate Josh Reddick, who had led off with a double. Gattis, who has a four-game hitting streak, celebrated the RBI by stealing second.
Brian McCann hit a two-out solo shot to the Houston bullpen in the fourth to put the Astros ahead for good. Gattis added a solo shot to left in the next frame to make it 3-1.
Having chased Fister and facing the dumpster fire known as the Rangers bullpen, Houston posted a three-spot in the eighth as insurance. Carlos Correa hit a two-run homer to dead center, driving in Alex Bregman who had doubled. Yuli Gurriel doubled, then McCann hit an infield single to Rangers shortstop Jurickson Profar, whose errant throw to first allowed Gurriel to score.
Will Harris and Collin McHugh tossed perfect eighth and ninth innings, respectively.
The Astros now boast the AL's top three starter ERAs: Justin Verlander at 1.21, 1.43 for Gerrit Cole, and Morton now with 2.03.
George Springer sat the game out nursing a left elbow contusion from his plunking Friday night. He is not expected to need DL time and is listed as day-to-day.
The Astros and Rangers face off again Sunday for the rubber game of the series. Dallas Keuchel (2-5, 3.53) will take the mound against Arlington's Matt Moore (1-4, 7.71) in a battle of lefties. First pitch is set for 1:10 pm CT.