By MoiseKapenda Bower, The Sports Xchange
HOUSTON — There was a sense of inevitability that Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor would find his stroke, that his ability to influence outcomes with his bat would eventually play a role in Texas’ resurgence. That he is doing so against the Rangers’ biggest rival only enhances the reveling in his production.
Odor homered in consecutive plate appearances in the seventh and eighth innings and the Texas Rangers rallied from an early two-run deficit to defeat the slumping Houston Astros 4-2 on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park.
Odor went 3-for-4, his third multi-hit game of Texas’ six-game road trip, with three RBIs and his 10th and 11th home runs this season. He pulled Texas (32-32) even with his leadoff shot in the seventh, lining a first-pitch changeup from Astros right-hander Chris Devenski into the first row of seats in right field.
With two outs in the eighth, Odor followed a single by Jonathan Lucroy with a two-run, opposite-field homer off Astros right-hander Luke Gregerson (2-2). Odor was also instrumental in the lone run Texas scored off Astros starter Brad Peacock.
“Odor’s got power to any field, and those were pitches he could handle,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “A good piece of hitting on both of them, and he beat our guys. It’s going to happen.”
George Springer and Carlos Correa clubbed their 18th and 12th home runs in the first and fourth innings, respectively, for the Astros (44-22), whose offense stalled immediately thereafter.
Rangers starter Nick Martinez induced nine groundball outs over six solid innings before Texas right-handed relievers Jose Leclerc (1-1), Keone Kela and Matt Bush combined to keep Houston at bay.
“I was pounding the zone and trying not to be too cute with any of my pitches,” Martinez said. “They got a couple of home runs off me, but we were able to keep it close and our guys were able to rally behind me.”
The Astros have lost six of eight games since their 11-game winning streak.
What was a promising start for Peacock did not yield the desired result of an individual victory. For the fourth time in his five starts since joining the rotation on May 22, Peacock failed to work the five innings needed to qualify for the win.
By the close of the third, he appeared to be cruising, posting seven strikeouts while sidestepping a pair of walks. He added two more strikeouts in the fifth to run his total to a season-high 10, but Peacock also surrendered his first hit, a leadoff single by Lucroy, and then a second single from Odor.
Correa complicated matters by playing a sure out at second base into a bases-loaded jam for Peacock when he attempted to beat Odor to second base on a Jurickson Profar grounder up the middle. By eschewing the flip to Jose Altuve, who was covering the bag, Correa failed to record even one out. Two batters later, Peacock walked Shin-Soo Choo to force home Lucroy and halve the deficit.
“That’s why we run hard down the line. That’s why you respect the 90 feet,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “The one thing we challenge our guys with is to get off the bag when you’re the back runner, get yourself in position and beat the play to second base. Roogie is a good runner, plus runner, so a ton of credit. You’ve got to credit Profar for getting down the line, too.”
Right-hander Will Harris entered and put out the fire, but Peacock was done after 4 2/3 innings, having allowed one earned run on two hits and four walks.
“I’ve got to figure out how to get through the fifth inning,” Peacock said. “I felt great and felt like I didn’t do anything different, but they got to me in the fifth so hats off to them.”