Home News Kyle Tucker hits grand slam in Astros’ series win over Rangers

Kyle Tucker hits grand slam in Astros’ series win over Rangers

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ARLINGTON — The Astros had circled the four-game series against the Rangers on their calendar, knowing if they could win three out of four games at Globe Life Field — and who knows, maybe even sweep? — they’d be right back in the thick of the American League West race, a division they’ve dominated in recent years.

So when the Astros stormed to an early eight-run lead in the series finale, including back-to-back homers by Chas McCormick and Yainer Diaz as well as a grand slam by Kyle Tucker in a six-run second inning, a series victory seemed certain. The Rangers were going away that easily.

After Texas scored nine consecutive runs to take a one-run lead into the ninth inning, the Astros mounted a comeback of their own and got back-to-back RBI doubles by José Abreu and McCormick to stun the Rangers, 12-11, on Monday afternoon at Globe Life Field.

“It was huge,” said Tucker, who went 4-for-4 with a hit-by-pitch and slashed .436/.411/.846 with four homers and 14 RBIs during Houston’s 10-game road trip. “They’re a good team, and they’re in first place in our division. Being able to come in and get three games out of them is huge. We’ve got to go home and finish out the first half strong.”

The Astros, winners of five of their past six games, took three of four games in the Lone Star Series sans injured slugger Yordan Alvarez (oblique) or shortstop Jeremy Peña (neck), cutting the Rangers’ lead atop the division to three games. Houston has won 12 of its past 15 games at Globe Life Field and is 25-19 on the road this year.

“We wanted three out of four or all of them, but your chances of getting all of them aren’t really good in a four-game series,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “This game was the difference between five out with four less games to play or three out. Hopefully we can go home and continue what’s going on and maybe pick up a game or two before the [All-Star] break.”

The Astros scored six runs in the second inning against Rangers starter Martín Pérez on back-to-back homers by McCormick and Diaz and a grand slam by Tucker, and they led 10-2 after Abreu blasted a 452-foot three-run homer — the 250th of his career — in the fourth inning. Abreu has a .952 OPS with 22 RBIs in his past 20 games.

Another shaky outing by Astros starter Cristian Javier (eight runs in 4 1/3 innings) allowed the Rangers, behind five RBIs from Travis Jankowski, to get back into the game, and they tied it at 10 in the seventh on Adolis García’s homer off Hector Neris.

“We were blowing them out, and then we left a couple of runners out there. I was hoping that didn’t haunt us,” Baker said. “We know those guys can hit. They can hit up and down the lineup. Boy, the bottom of the lineup killed us all series.”

The Rangers, with the help of a throwing error by third baseman Alex Bregman, took an 11-10 lead in the eighth, but the Astros rallied against Will Smith, who spent the final two months of last season with Houston and won his second consecutive World Series ring. Tucker got it going with a single, and Abreu tied it with a double off the wall. McCormick was sitting on a slider, and he got it to drive in the go-ahead run.

“That was a grind tonight,” said McCormick, who also had the go-ahead hit Sunday. “I’m happy we were able to win. Texas is a great ball team. Obviously, I thought we had it. I thought we were going to have an easier one today, and they stormed back. We kind of had to check it back in a little bit. We put up some good runs in the second inning, and we maybe took the foot off the pedal a little bit. I’m [proud] of how we regrouped and came back mentally.”

The Astros finished their season-long 10-game road trip with a 6-4 record and have won eight of their past 12 games after going 3-10 from June 6-19. The defending World Series champions served notice to the Rangers the division race is just getting started.

“This team is very resilient, and they come to play,” Baker said. “We make some mistakes sometimes, but they play hard and that will take you a long ways.”

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