HOUSTON – Elvis Andrus homered for the first time this season, but he couldn’t outshine Alex Rios in his debut with the Texas Rangers.
Rios drove in the game-tying run and scored the go-ahead run as the Rangers rallied for a 5-4 victory over the Astros on Saturday night.
The Rangers are now alone atop the American League West standings after the A’s lost to the Blue Jays. Texas is now on a season-long six-game winning streak, and has won nine of 11 against Houston.
The Rangers, once again, took advantage of the Astros’ shaky bullpen.
Rangers starter Derek Holland turned in a quality start, allowing three runs over six innings, but Astros starter Brad Peacock allowed only a solo homer by A.J. Pierzynski over six innings.
Trailing 3-1 going into the seventh, the Rangers tied the game on a two-out, two-run homer by Andrus. He connected on a 1-2 slider by Kevin Chapman by sending it over the left-field fence and into the Crawford Boxes.
It was Andrus first homer since Sept. 4, 2012, a span of 558 at-bats.
The Astros regained the lead in the home half of the seventh. Brandon Barnes led off with a single to center, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and stole third. He then scored on a wild pitch by Rangers reliever Jason Frasor.
That lead didn’t last long, though. Pierzynski had a one-out double off the left-center field fence in the eighth, and then pinch-runner Engel Beltre raced home on a triple by Rios that scooted past a diving Barnes in center.
The Astros played the infield in the next at-bat and Mitch Moreland grounded a sharp one to second baseman Jose Altuve, who threw home well before Rios got there. But Astros catcher Jason Castro dropped the ball, allowing Rios to slide in safely and give the Rangers a 5-4 lead.
Joakim Soria stranded two runners in a scoreless eighth, and Joe Nathan worked around a one-out walk in the ninth for his 34th save.-- Drew Davison