Justin Grimm turned in a quality start in his major league debut, the offense supported him with a five-run sixth and the Texas Rangers went on to an 8-3 victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday night at Rangers Ballpark.
Texas, which has won five of its last six, will go for the series sweep on Sunday afternoon.
Grimm gave up a single to the first big league batter he faced, Jordan Schafer. He responded by getting Jose Altuve to fly out, and then catcher Mike Napoli gunned down Schafer trying to steal second. That saved a run, as Jed Lowrie belted a solo homer.
But Grimm settled down, and struck out the next five batters -- the first player in franchise history to strike out five consecutive batters in his major league debut. Grimm worked out of a jam in the fourth after giving up a leadoff double to Altuve.
In the fifth, the Astros scored two runs. Justin Maxwell had an RBI double, and Schafer had a run-scoring single. Grimm worked a 1-2-3 sixth, and the Rangers' offense put him in line in for the victory in the bottom half.
Craig Gentry and Ian Kinsler singled to start the inning, and both advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Elvis Andrus. The Astros couldn't convert a fielder's choice grounder by Michael Young, leaving the bases loaded for Adrian Beltre. Beltre delivered with a two-run single, and Nelson Cruz followed by booming a three-run home run into the visiting bullpen.
The Rangers extended their lead with two runs in the seventh. Kinsler had an RBI single, and Young had a sacrifice fly. In the eighth, Mitch Moreland scored Texas' final run with a double to right-center field.
Robbie Ross worked a perfect seventh. Mike Adams pitched himself into -- and out of -- a bases-loaded jam in the eighth. Mark Lowe closed it out with a scoreless ninth.
-- Drew Davison