Rangers 2, Astros 1

MoiseKapenda Bower, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

HOUSTON -- Texas right-hander Yu Darvish carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning and the Rangers completed a four-game sweep of the Houston Astros with a 2-1 victory on Monday at Minute Maid Park.
Darvish (12-5), who retired the first 26 Astros he faced before surrendering a Marwin Gonzales single in his first start of this season, struck out a career-high 15 batters while dominating Houston (37-80) for a second time.
Astros catcher Carlos Corporan ended Darvish's no-hit bid with a first-pitch solo home run to right field with one out in the eighth.
Darvish was perfect through five innings and was one strike away from retiring his first 18 batters before controversy struck in the bottom of the sixth inning. Darvish fooled Astros shortstop Jonathan Villar with a 2-2 curveball that replays showed clipped the bottom of the strike zone.
However, home plate umpire Ron Kulpa called that pitch a ball, and when the ensuing pitch missed wide, Villar drew a walk and Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski ripped off his mask in disgust. Almost immediately, Kulpa ejected Pierzynski for arguing balls and strikes.
Darvish sidestepped the distraction and fanned Robbie Grossman to end the sixth, and then set down four consecutive batters before Corporan cut the Texas (69-50) lead in half with his seventh homer on the season.
The Rangers scored twice in the first off Astros left-hander Brett Oberholtzer, whose first two starts of the season ended with his working seven shutout innings against the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox. Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre ended that scoreless streak with an RBI double that preceded a run-scoring single from Pierzynski.
Oberholtzer (2-1) allowed just four additional singles before departing in the seventh. Josh Fields stranded a pair of inherited runners in relief.
Right-hander Joe Nathan worked a perfect ninth inning to record his 35th save for the Rangers. Darvish tossed 115 pitches before exiting. Texas has won 13 of 14 games and closed its 10-game road trip 9-1.
NOTES: Texas reclaimed Oakland IF Adam Rosales off waivers and he will report to the club Tuesday. Rosales, who was originally claimed by Texas before being designated for assignment and reclaimed by Oakland last Thursday, hit .191 with four home runs and eight RBI in 51 games with the Athletics, who designated him for assignment on Saturday. ... Rangers DH Lance Berkman, who started a rehab assignment on Saturday night with Class AAA Round Rock, was given Monday off. He will DH for Class AA Frisco on Tuesday and Wednesday and will be reevaluated after that. ... Astros 2B Jose Altuve (left quad strain) was not in the lineup Monday but will avoid a trip to the disabled list.

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