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Rangers 9, Astros 5

The SportsXchange

HOUSTON -- The Texas Rangers joined the parade of teams that have victimized the Houston Astros' youthful bullpen, scoring four times in the eighth inning to claim a 9-5 win on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

With five of their seven relievers classified as rookies, the Astros (37-77) recorded their fifth blown save in their last six save opportunities.

Texas (66-50) batted around in the eighth, capitalizing on four walks and two hits against four Houston pitchers, including a two-run, two-out double from Leonys Martin off Wesley Wright that gave the Rangers a three-run lead.

Butler walked to load the bases in the inning and set the table for Jurickson Profar, whose single in the seventh scored Butler from second. Profar worked an eight-pitch walk from Wright before Martin followed with his double.

The Astros threatened by loading the bases in the bottom of the eighth, but pinch-hitter Marc Krauss struck out against left-hander Neal Cotts, Texas' second pitcher of the inning.

Rangers left fielder Joey Butler, who might be optioned to Triple-A Round Rock after the acquisition of outfielder Alex Rios on Friday, doubled and scored off Astros left-hander Erik Bedard in the seventh.

The Rangers won for the 10th time in 11 games.

Astros catcher Jason Castro, whose lone hit against Rangers right-hander Matt Garza was a home run, homered off Garza for a second time leading off the second inning, launching a 445-foot shot into the upper deck in right field. Houston center fielder Brandon Barnes followed suit in the fifth, crushing a 431-foot home run to center field for a 4-2 lead.

The Rangers grabbed a short-lived lead in the fourth inning when Jeff Baker and Craig Gentry delivered a sacrifice fly and sacrifice bunt, respectively, to score Ian Kinsler and Adrian Beltre, who reached to open inning with a single and walk off Astros left-hander Erik Bedard.

But the Astros responded quickly, stroking back-to-back-to-back doubles off Garza, with Jose Altuve and Castro getting RBIs with their hits. L.J. Hoes' leadoff double set the tone for the Astros' two-run inning.

NOTES: Rangers DH Lance Berkman participated in running drills and batting practice on Friday and, after experiencing no setbacks, will be sent to Triple-A Round Rock for a rehab assignment on Saturday. Berkman has been on the 15-day disabled list since July 7 with left hip inflammation and had previously considered retiring during the season. ... Before Castro hit his 14th home run of the season, Houston catchers were tied with the Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians for most homers by backstops in the American League with 17. The Houston club record is 22 set in 2000.
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