HOUSTON (AP) — Kyle Tucker hit a three-run homer in Houston’s big third inning to help the Astros hand the Texas Rangers their 10th straight loss with a 7-3 victory on Friday night.
After Yordan Alvarez hit an RBI single and Carlos Correa followed with an RBI grounder, Tucker fought through a nine-pitch at-bat — fouling off six pitches in a row — before smacking a fastball from Kolby Allard (2-8) into the bullpen in right center field to make it 5-0. It was Tucker’s 18th.
“He made some good pitches, I was just fouling them off trying to get a pitch to drive and it worked out well for me,” Tucker said. “That was huge for us to put up that five-spot early on … and get ahead like that.”
Houston manager Dusty Baker said Tucker is finally returning to form after missing about a week with an illness earlier this month.
“You knew Tuck was going to hit sooner or later,” Baker said. “It took him a while to get his strength back. That was a big one.”
Allard allowed seven hits and a season-high seven runs in four innings for his sixth consecutive loss.
“Unfortunately they kind of attacked him and got some quick hits,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “He didn’t make his quality pitches.”
Jake Odorizzi allowed four hits and three runs with six strikeouts and two walks in 4 2/3 innings. Brandon Bielak (3-3) gave up just one hit in 2 1/3 scoreless innings for the win.
Nathaniel Lowe hit a two-run triple for the Rangers, who fell to 0-7 at Minute Maid Park this season.
Robel Garcia singled with one out in the fourth before a double by Jose Altuve. Michael Brantley reached on a fielder’s choice that allowed Garcia to score and left Altuve at third.
Altuve scored on Yuli Gurriel’s sacrifice fly to push the advantage to 7-0.
Odorizzi held the Rangers scoreless until running into trouble with two outs in the fifth. Brock Holt doubled before Odorizzi walked Andy Ibáñez. Isiah Kiner-Falefa singled to score Holt.
Lowe chased him when he got the Rangers within 7-3 with his triple to center field. Bielak took over and retired Adolis García to limit the damage.
“Just a lot of frustration for me today,” Odorizzi said. “It’s just embarrassing that I wasn’t able to get through that inning and add more outs. Just lack of execution is what it boils down to.”
Baker said it looked like Odorizzi lost his rhythm and timing in the fifth inning after throwing well early.
“At that point we had to think about the game,” Baker said. “They were starting to roll and they had some dangerous hitters up next. We had to put the kibosh on it.”
KEEP YOUR HEAD UP
Woodward has been disappointed in the body language of some of his players lately when things are going wrong, and said he speaks to them often about not feeling sorry for themselves as the losses have piled up.
“This is baseball 101. It’s something you learn when you’re 11,” he said. “You have to get over it. We’re in a tough stretch right now, I get it. We’re trying to build toughness. We’ve got to do a better job of that.”
Rangers: C Jose Trevino (bruised right forearm) was activated from the 10-day injured list. … 1B Curtis Terry’s contract was selected from Triple-A Round Rock and he went 0 for 4 in his major league debut. … 2B Nick Solak was optioned to Round Rock. … C John Hicks was designated for assignment.
Astros: RHP Pedro Báez, who has been out all season with injuries and an illness, allowed two hits and one run in one inning in a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Sugar Land Friday night. … INF Aledmys Díaz (fractured left hand) went 0 for 5 with a strikeout in a rehabilitation game with Double-A Corpus Christi Friday night.
Houston LHP Framber Valdez (5-2, 3.26 ERA) opposes Rangers RHP Kyle Gibson (6-2, 2.86) when the series continues Saturday night.
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