HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros blew their sixth save in seven opportunities since trading closer Jose Veras to the Detroit Tigers late last month as the Texas Rangers rallied for a 5-4 win on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.
In winning for the 11th time in their past 12 games, Texas (67-50) made two late comebacks, starting by erasing a 3-1 deficit in the seventh inning when Elvis Andrus bashed his first home run of the season, a two-run shot to left off left-hander Kevin Chapman.
After the Astros (37-78) went back in front with a run in the bottom of the seventh, the Rangers scored twice in the top of the eighth.
Alex Rios, acquired from the Chicago White Sox on Friday, followed an A.J. Pierzynski one-out double with an RBI triple to center. Rios scored when Mitch Moreland hit a grounder to second base that Jose Altuve fielded cleanly before throwing home. But catcher Jason Castro dropped the throw, allowing Rios to score the winning run.
While Chapman and Lucas Harrell (5-13) combined to allow four runs in three innings, right-handers Joakim Soria and Joe Nathan worked one scoreless inning apiece. Nathan notched his 34th save of the year.
Astros designated hitter Chris Carter, who had just one multi-hit game since the start of July, was the subject of a lengthy discussion led by Houston manager Bo Porter during his pregame media session. With Carter mustering only two hits in 31 at-bats heading into Saturday night while accumulating strikeouts at a record pace, his slump was relevant.
Right on cue, Carter drilled a single that just missed clearing the left-field wall in his first at-bat before launching his 20th home run in his second, a solo shot down the line in left leading off the fourth inning.
The blast doubled the Astros' 1-0 lead and came after Houston scratched across a run an inning earlier against Texas left-hander Derek Holland. Altuve doubled home L.J. Hoes before being erased at the plate by Leonys Martin after Castro singled to center field with two outs.
Houston right-hander Brad Peacock surrendered a solo home run to Pierzynski in the sixth but managed to escape further trouble, allowing the one run despite walking four in six innings. He departed with a 3-1 lead and a beleaguered bullpen to protect the lead.
NOTES: Astros LHP Travis Blackley, designated for assignment on Friday, was outrighted to Triple-A Oklahoma City. He has three days to accept the assignment or elect free agency. Blackley was 1-1 with a 4.89 ERA in 42 games with the Astros this season. ... Rangers manager Ron Washington explained his reasoning behind choosing Engel Beltre over Joey Butler as his fifth outfielder after optioning Butler to Triple-A Round Rock. With three right-handed hitters already on his bench, Washington opted to keep the left-handed hitting Beltre.