ARLINGTON – Yu Darvish allowed a season-high in earned runs, Robbie Ross gave up a homer in a second consecutive appearance and the Texas Rangers fell 9-5 to the Houston Astros on Saturday night.
The Rangers have lost four of their last seven games and remain a ½-game back of the A’s in the American League West.
Darvish, named an All-Star earlier in the day, opened with three scoreless innings before giving up a two-out, two-run homer to Brandon Barnes in the fourth inning.
The Astros extended their lead to 4-0 in the fifth on a two-out, two-run single by Marc Krauss, who entered batting .071.
But the Rangers rallied back in the sixth with four runs to tie it. Mitch Moreland had a sacrifice fly, and then Geovany Soto delivered a game-tying three-run homer over the left-center field fence.
It was Soto’s fourth homer of the season and seemed to put momentum back on the Rangers’ side.
But the Astros responded in the seventh with three runs for a 7-4 lead.
Darvish issued a leadoff walk to Jose Altuve, ending his night, and Ross entered. Ross hit the first batter he faced, Brett Wallace, and then gave up a three-run homer to left-handed batter Jason Castro.
Ross got out of the inning, but has a 6.06 ERA over his last 16 appearances and has allowed homers in two straight outings.
The Rangers had a chance to rally in their half of the seventh. Ian Kinsler led off with a single, but was caught trying to steal second. Two batters later, All-Star Nelson Cruz belted a solo shot, his second in as many days.
It didn’t matter in the end, though. The Astros took a 9-5 lead in the eighth on a two-run homer by Jake Elmore, his first career homer off Tanner Scheppers.
Darvish, meanwhile, took the loss, allowing a season-high five earned runs on six hits with four walks and six strikeouts.
-- Drew Davison