via Texas Rangers
ARLINGTON — The Rangers hit five home runs on Friday night with a dramatic two-run shot off the foul pole by Ronald Guzman tying the game in the eighth inning.
But the winning run in the Rangers’ exhilarating comeback came on a couple of singles, a walk and a stolen base. The Rangers were down four with nine outs to go and rallied for a 9-8 victory over the Astros at Globe Life Park.
Danny Santana delivered the game-winning hit with a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth off Houston closer Robert Osuna and the Rangers have now won two straight over the Astros to open the second half.
“It’s big,” winning pitcher Shawn Kelley said. “But the way we did it, get down and fight back the way we did, it’s a testament to this team. We feel we can play with anybody. We got it done but we can’t be satisfied with a split [of the four-game series]. We need to find a way to win one of the next two, if not both, and make a statement.”
The Rangers’ winning rally came against Astros closer Robert Osuna, who brought a 1.95 ERA into the game. Elvis Andrus started the rally with a one-out single to right and stole second with Joey Gallo at the plate. Gallo then drew a walk.
Osuna struck out Rougned Odor but Santana lined a single into right-center just beyond George Springer’s diving attempt to bring home the winning run.
“When I saw Springer going after it, I thought, ‘Oh my god, I think he is going to catch it,’” Santana said. “I’m glad he didn’t. This win means a lot. When a team is good like ours, that can happen. Everything went our way in the end.”
This was the first walk-off hit and RBI of Santana’s career. He is hitting .348 with six home runs, 13 RBIs and a .652 slugging percentage in his last 19 games.
“Incredible,” manager Chris Woodward said. “Even with the home run in his first at-bat, every time he plays it seems like he does something. He’s got power, speed and he has had some huge at-bats since he came here. The moment doesn’t seem to get to him. He stays calm and controls the moment.”
The first six innings were frustrating for the Rangers. Shin-Soo Choo, Santana and Gallo all hit home runs off Astros starter Gerrit Cole, but the lineup also struck out 13 times in six innings against the All-Star right-hander.
Rangers starter Jesse Chavez was also frustrated after allowing seven runs in 5 1/3 innings. His anger was directed at home-plate umpire Rob Drake and his strike zone. At one point, after the second inning, Chavez made a gesture of offering his glasses to Drake as he walked off the mound.
“I mean, the glasses thing today should say what I think about it,” Chavez said. “You gotta be on those pitches. Things happened to escalate a little bit tonight on my character part, but it’s not a fault of my character. It’s just the nature of the beast. You can’t miss pitches in that situation.”
The Rangers trailed 8-4 going into the bottom of the seventh, but Tim Federowicz hit a leadoff home run against reliever Will Harris. Later in the inning, the Rangers had Choo at third and Andrus at first with two outs. Andrus stole second and catcher Robinson Chirinos threw the ball into center field, allowing Choo to score.
“It just shows the versatility of our team,” Woodward said. “We have power but when we need speed, it’s cool to be able to beat teams in different ways. I like to keep putting pressure on them.”
Santana also came up big in the eighth by drawing a leadoff walk against reliever Hector Rondon. One out later, Guzman crushed a first-pitch slider and hit it off the right-field foul pole to tie the game.
“It felt really good, and it felt better when it hit the pole,” Guzman said. “It was amazing, especially to tie the game like that against the Astros. They’re a pretty good team, and being able to answer right back to teams like that it is very powerful.”