Coming off big win, Rangers face Astros again

MLB Baseball

Texas Rangers rookie center fielder Adolis Garcia is enjoying a fabulous season, with his displays of prodigious power coming so frequently that his heroics Friday weren’t at all surprising.

Garcia capped a two-hit, five-RBI performance with a three-run, walk-off homer in the 10th inning to give Texas a 7-5 win over the Houston Astros in the series opener.

The teams meet again Saturday in Arlington, Texas, in the middle contest of a three-game set.

Garcia gave the Rangers a 3-1 lead with a two-run double in the fourth inning. The homer was his 12th of the season and bumped his RBI total to 35. Garcia enters the weekend leading all rookies in home runs and RBIs despite not making his season debut until April 13.

“There’s a reason why he’s having success, obviously, from a swing standpoint, from a talent standpoint,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “But from a mental standpoint, this guy is just going to stay in the moment. Everything we preach, he’s doing. He’s staying to the big part of the field and not trying to pull everything. It’s really impressive what he’s doing right now.”

Right-hander Jordan Lyles (2-3, 5.93 ERA) will start for Texas on Saturday. He is 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA over his past three starts, including allowing one run in six innings against the New York Yankees on Monday.

Lyles, selected by Houston in the first round (38th overall) of the 2008 draft, is 1-1 with a 3.47 ERA over five career appearances (three starts) against the Astros. He logged quality starts in two of the starts against Houston, for whom he debuted as a 20-year-old in 2011.

Right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. (3-1, 2.70 ERA) will make his 100th career start on Saturday, all for the Astros in his six-year career. He worked six scoreless innings against the Rangers on May 16, allowing five hits and two walks with five strikeouts. He did not factor into the decision despite departing with a 2-0 lead.

McCullers is 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA over his past five starts and ranks second in the American League with a .173 opponents batting average.

McCullers is 1-4 with a 3.73 ERA in 10 career starts against Texas, the last three of which have been scoreless appearances.

Garcia blasted his walk-off homer off Astros right-hander Bryan Abreu. The defeat continued what has been an erratic season for Houston relievers excluding closer Ryan Pressly, who entered a tie game in the ninth inning and threw 10 pitches and a scoreless frame to preserve the 4-4 tie.

Pressly (2-0, 1.40 ERA with seven saves) has been exceptional and, of greater importance, consistent. The same can’t be said of Abreu, who surrendered his third home run while pursuing his first career save.

Also experiencing ups and downs are left-hander Brooks Raley (2-2, 7.00 ERA) and setup man Ryne Stanek (0-1, 4.00), who loaded the bases in the eighth inning on Thursday in Oakland, facilitating the need for Pressly to enter and put out that fire. Stanek has issued eight walks in his past 2 2/3 innings and four appearances.

With Pressly having pitched Thursday and the ninth inning in the series opener against the Rangers, Astros manager Dusty Baker opted not to send him back out to the mound for a second inning in deference to potentially losing him for the remainder of the series.

“Everybody has a job to do,” Baker said. “No, we can’t just keep running Pressly out there for two innings or we’ll end up hurting him.”

–Field Level Media

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