Heim homers with 4 RBIs as Rangers win 12-8 and drop Astros to to 4-11

HOUSTON (AP) — Jonah Heim homered and drove in four runs, and the Texas Rangers beat Houston 12-8 on Friday night to drop the Astros seven games under .500 for the first time in eight years.

Evan Carter added three hits as the Rangers built a 12-3 lead by the sixth inning.

Houston fell to 4-11. The Astros had not been that many games below .500 since they were 22-29 before a Memorial Day win in 2016, a season in which they fell to 20-29 before a five-game winning streak.

“We’re a better team than the way we’re playing right now and it’s just a matter of time when everything kind of clicks and we get going,” Houston manager Joe Espada said.

In their first visit to Houston since Game 7 of last year’s AL Championship Series, the defending champion Rangers rebounded after managing just one hit Thursday as they were shut out for the first time this season in a 1-0 loss to Oakland.

They jumped on J.P. France (0-2) for eight hits and eight runs in just four innings in a third consecutive dismal start for Houston’s pitching staff. Heim’s three-run shot in a six-run third inning put the Rangers up 7-1.

“You have to love the at-bats, the walks, the big hits,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Guys really had good focus tonight and just had quality at-bat after quality at-bat. I just loved the way they went up there with that good approach all night.”

The Astros have dropped four games in a row for the second time in this young season and have allowed 36 runs in their last three games.

Texas starter Dane Dunning (2-1) yielded five hits and three runs in five innings for the win.

“Mechanically not great, but I was able to be effective the times that I needed to,” he said.

Kyle Tucker homered twice and drove in three runs and Jake Meyers added three RBIs for the Astros. Yordan Alvarez was hit by pitches twice Friday. He took first without incident when Dunning plunked him on the leg in the third but stared down Brock Burke after an inside pitch hit him on the elbow in the seventh.

Tucker sent his next pitch into the second deck in left field and p unctuated it with a mighty bat flip.

“We didn’t really appreciate it whether it was an accident or not," Tucker said. “I mean, missing four times in, almost hitting him twice and then hitting him is probably not really a good look. We didn’t really appreciate that, which I don’t think anyone would.”

Houston scored three more runs in that inning to cut the lead to 12-8. But the Astros were shut out the rest of the way.

The game was tied 1-1 when the Rangers took the lead on France’s bases loaded walk of Josh Smith with one out in the third.

Wyatt Langford then singled on a line drive to left field to send two more runs home. An error by left fielder Mauricio Dubón on the play left runners at second and third.

Heim followed with his homer to the second deck in left field to pad the lead.

Carter hit an RBI single in the fourth and the Rangers scored four in the sixth to push the lead to 12-3 before Houston’s late surge.


Rangers: 1B Nathaniel Lowe (right oblique strain) went 0 for 4 with a run scored in his first rehabilitation game for Double-A Frisco Friday night.

Astros: 3B Alex Bregman was out of the lineup with an undisclosed illness. … RHP Justin Verlander is scheduled to make his second and likely final rehabilitation start for Double-A Corpus Christi on Saturday night. The three-time Cy Young Award winner opened the season on the injured list with inflammation in his right shoulder.


Texas LHP Andrew Heaney (0-2, 7.56 ERA) opposes RHP Ronel Blanco (2-0, 0.00) when the series continues Saturday.