Beltre's hot hitting leads Rangers past Astros

Michael Eldridge, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Knocking two to the wall in his first three plate appearances, Adrian Beltre had to dig deep in his fourth at-bat to get the extra distance.
Beltre put a charge on a pitch up in the zone for a two-run homer in the sixth, his 26th of the year, that erased a 2-1 deficit and helped send his Texas Rangers to a 4-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night at Rangers Ballpark.
"I'm getting lucky," Beltre said. "I'm hitting holes, and that is what it is all about. He had a really good fastball but at the same time he has a cutter that goes away. I was trying to make an adjustment because everything was cutting."
Beltre's sixth inning RBI extended his streak to four consecutive games in which the third basemen has batted in a run. Beltre joined Ian Kinsler to lead Texas with a pair of hits, Beltre crossing the plate twice in the contest.
"He's been swinging the bat extremely well and getting it done in situations where we really need him to get it done," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "That is what Beltre is about. It seems like every time we go down the stretch he is right there ready to do it."
The win was Texas' seventh consecutive against its Lone Star State rival, and it secured the team's 13th consecutive series win over Houston. Texas (73-53) pushed to a season-high 20 games over .500 and remained in first place in the American League West.
Houston (41-84) fell to 4-4 on its nine-game road trip.
"These guys have been resilient all year," Astros manager Bo Porter said.
There was no doubt in my mind that they would bounce back from a game like last night. I knew they would come ready to play but the Rangers got the better of tonight, but our guys played well."
The teams conclude their three-game series Wednesday, with Texas seeking its second consecutive sweep of Houston and third of the season. The Rangers swept the Astros in a four-game set earlier this month in Houston.
Jarred Cosart limited the Rangers to one run and three hits over his first five innings, but Texas' fourth hit erased Houston's 2-1 lead.
"I think he pitched a really good ball game," Porter said. "Obviously you look at the two-run homer, but it's the old saying of its hard to hit a bad pitch good. The pitch was out of the zone and Beltre just went and got it."
Cosart (1-1) wound up allowing three runs on four hits and three walks in six innings. He struck out three.
Rangers starter Travis Blackley left after four innings of two-run ball, and Jason Frasor, Neal Cotts, Tanner Scheppers and Joe Nathan pitched scoreless through the final five innings.
Blackley appeared in his first game with Texas after being acquired on Aug. 9 from the Astros. Blackley appeared in 42 games, all in relief, for the Astros and made one appearance for Texas' Triple-A affiliate in Round Rock, Texas.
"Getting four out of him when the score was 2-1 made a significant difference," Washington said of his starter's performance. "He made one pitch to Dominguez but he did what he could to keep us in the ball game."
Cotts (5-2) got the win after retiring four of his five batters faced. Nathan struck out the side in a perfect ninth for his 27th save.
After 13 runs crossed the plate in the first three innings of Monday night's game, 11 by Texas, offense was at a premium in the early going Tuesday.
Houston's Matt Dominguez belted a two-run homer in the second, his 17th of the season, over the left-field wall.
Texas would respond though, beginning with Beltre's double to lead off the bottom of the second. Beltre advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored two batters later on Alex Rios' single.
"You got to give crecit to Andrus, Kinsler and all of those guys out there," Washington said. "They did a good job and played solid defense and ran the bases well. We did exactly what we wanted to do until we were able to get back in the ball game and take the lead.
A wild pitch in the eighth scored Elvis Andrus.
NOTES: Rangers RHP Alexi Ogando, who complained about shoulder soreness in his last start, was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 14. The move cleared a roster spot for Blackley, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Round Rock. ... With his first appearance for Texas, Blackley became the first Australian born player to play for the club. ... Houston's Triple-A Oklahoma City affiliate extended its home winning streak to a franchise-record 17 games Tuesday. The RedHawks scored twice in the bottom of the ninth to beat Albuquerque 6-5.

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