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ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – The Rangers entered the bottom of the fourth inning hitless and struggling on offense. They left it with five runs and a lead they wouldn’t surrender.
Leonys Martin hit a bases clearing double with two outs to spark a five-run inning, propelling Texas to a 7-3 win over Houston in Arlington on Wednesday night.
The Rangers won the season series 17-2 against the Astros, winning 11 straight, and will retain the Silver Boot for the seventh consecutive year.
With the win, Texas kept pace with Tampa Bay and Cleveland – who both won – in the Wild Card race. The Rays remain two games ahead, while the Indians hold a one-game advantage for the final playoff spot with four games remaining.
After consecutive groundouts to start the fourth inning, Jeff Baker singled for the first Texas hit of the night. Mitch Moreland walked and Craig Gentry was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Martin, who entered the game in a 4-for-21 slump.
Martin drove the first pitch he saw down the right field line for a double to clear the bases.
“It was obviously a good swing and we needed a timely hit,” said Martin after the game. “We were all looking for a big inning like that; thank God we were able to produce.”
Ian Kinsler added a solo homerun – his 13th of the season – in the sixth to extend the lead to 7-3.
Right fielder Craig Gentry scored on a fielder’s choice in the third inning before Texas collected its first hit.
Astros starter Dallas Keuchel (6-10) went 5.2 innings, surrendering six hits and seven runs.
Texas starter Martin Perez (10-5) was solid in seven innings of work, limiting the Astros to six hits and three runs while striking out eight.
DH Brandon Laird hits his fifth homerun of the season of Perez in the fourth to give Houston a 3-1 lead. But Perez surrendered just a pair of infield singles over his final three innings of work.
“He had a good changeup tonight,” said manager Ron Washington. “He was able to spot his fastball too around the zone. After he got past the third inning, I think he began to settle in.”
The Los Angeles Angels travel to Arlington to start a four-game series against the Rangers on Thursday. Matt Garza (4-5) is scheduled to start against RHP Jerome Williams (9-10), who is nursing a slight foot injury.
NOTES: Texas’ 17 wins against Houston is the most against any team in franchise history…Texas has won 14 straight series against Houston…Joe Nathan’s 41 saves is the 4th most in Rangers history…Craig Gentry stole his 20th base for the first time in his career… 3 of Texas’ final 5 games are scheduled to be against LHP
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