Astros 1, Rangers 0
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—Carlos Beltran leaped with his glove extended over the top of the wall, then dropped to the ground in a sitting position.
Even he wasn’t sure he had made the catch until he looked into his glove.
Beltran’s home run-robbing catch in the first inning proved huge, and the newly acquired outfielder scored the game’s lone run as the Houston Astros won 1-0 Sunday to end the Texas Rangers’ eight-game winning streak.
“When he came down and didn’t show it right away, I thought it got over,” said Roy Oswalt, who struck out nine while pitching eight shutout innings. “That saved the whole game right there.”
Texas leadoff hitter Michael Young was already trotting halfway between second and third and umpire Ed Montague had signaled a home run. Then, Beltran got up and pulled the ball from his glove.
“When I jumped, I saw the ball hit my glove, but when I went down and opened my glove, I was like, `Wow, I got this one,”’ Beltran said. “I was kind of shocked and surprised.”
The Rangers’ winning streak was the longest in the majors, but they still lead the AL West. Texas plays its remaining 14 games before the All-Star break on the road without a day off.
It was the third time this season Texas was shut out, and the Rangers’ first 1-0 loss at home since June 23, 1997, against Anaheim.
“That’s impressive pitching on both sides,” Texas manager Buck Showalter said. “It goes back to one thing: Beltran’s catch.”
Beltran was acquired from Kansas City in a three-way trade last Thursday. The Astros sent closer Octavio Dotel to Oakland as part of the deal.
Oswalt (6-6), who didn’t walk a batter, overcame extra-base hits in three consecutive innings for the win. He threw 74 of 109 pitches for strikes.
Brad Lidge, who took over as the closer, pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save in six chances—completing the Astros’ seventh shutout. It was Lidge’s second straight save since Dotel left.
Ryan Drese (4-5) threw his second complete game for the Rangers, allowing six hits over nine innings and striking out four. He had been 4-0 at home, where he has a 2.03 ERA in his eight games.
“It stinks, but that’s the game,” Drese said. “It was a game that could very easily have been 0-0 in the ninth.”
Houston got its lone run after loading the bases with no outs in the second—Beltran and Lance Berkman singled, and Mike Lamb walked. Beltran scored when Morgan Ensberg grounded in a double play before Jose Vizcaino grounded out.
Beltran was 1-for-3, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. He was 4-for-11 in his first three games with the Astros.
After Alfonso Soriano’s two-out single in the first, Oswalt retired 12 straight batters—getting seven on strikeouts.
“I got a few guys to chase the fastball out of the zone and got a few guys swinging at curveballs in the dirt,” Oswalt said. “The whole gameplan was to keep the ball out of the middle of the plate, because they are so aggressive.”
Eric Young tripled with two outs in the fifth, hitting a ball into the gap that right fielder Lance Berkman took a bad angle on and couldn’t cut off. The ball got to the wall, but Oswalt then got Gary Matthews Jr. on an inning-ending groundout.
Barajas was stranded when the top three hitters in the lineup went 1-2-3 in the sixth.
After Fullmer doubled, Oswalt hit Mark Teixeira with an 0-2 pitch. But Fullmer was picked off by catcher Raul Chavez, on the second straight throw he made. Oswalt then struck out David Dellucci and ended the inning with a comebacker.
The play by Chavez, who just missed getting Fullmer with the first throw, impressed Beltran.
“You never know what might happen if (Dellucci) gets the bunt down. They’re trying to move the runners over,” Beltran said. “That was great right there.”
Matthews, the Texas center fielder, made a run-saving catch to end the Houston sixth. With Berkman running on contact from first, Matthews went deep into the left-center gap and with a full extension of his left arm caughtEnsberg’s flyball.
LHP Andy Pettitte, on the disabled list (left forearm strain) since May 27, returns to the Astros rotation Tuesday night at the Chicago Cubs. Manager Jimy Williams said INF Eric Bruntlett will be sent back to Triple-A New Orleans. … Barajas, who made his ninth straight start at catcher, extended his hitting streak to 11 games, a career high and the longest by the Rangers this season. … There was no batting practice on the field for the third straight day. Rain was the cause the first day, but Sunday was because of a fanphoto day on the field.