HOUSTON (AP) — Rougned Odor is finally starting to heat up, and it’s helping the Texas Rangers do the same.
Odor hit a solo homer in the seventh inning and his tiebreaking two-run shot in the eighth lifted the Rangers to a 4-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night, their fifth straight win.
“It’s been probably the last three weeks that we’ve seen the ratio of barrel to ball start to show up better for us,” manager Jeff Banister said. “Some better swings, laying off some pitches down and out of the zone a little more consistently. Limiting the chase. He came up huge for us tonight, really the last few nights.”
Odor has hit four homers in the last eight games after managing just one in his previous 26. He finished with a season-high three hits and it is the first time this season he’s had multiple hits in consecutive games all season after he had two on Monday.
“He’s hit fastballs, he’s hit the off-speed pitch, he’s laid off some pitches down, he’s laid off some of the fastball mix,” Banister said. “He’s just forcing these guys to pitch to him.”
Odor tied it at 2-all when he dropped the first pitch of the seventh inning from Chris Devenski into the front row in right field.
He was at it again in the eighth when, after a single by Jonathan Lucroy with two outs, he connected off Luke Gregerson (2-2) into the seats in left field to put Texas up 4-2. It was the fifth career multi-home run game for Odor and his second this season.
Nick Martinez allowed five hits and two runs in six innings. Jose Leclerc (1-1) pitched a scoreless seventh for the win and Matt Bush allowed one hit in 1 1/3 innings for his eighth save.
George Springer and Carlos Correa hit solo homers for the first-place Astros, who lost for the sixth time in eight games.
Houston starter Brad Peacock yielded two hits and walked four with a season-high 10 strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. He was pitching on three days’ rest because of an injury to Lance McCullers.
“Peacock was exceptional,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “I thought he got a little unlucky at the end when a couple of calls didn’t go his way. All in all, he had really good put-away pitches and did a really good job of getting to the middle part of the game.”
The Astros had runners at first and second with one out in the eighth inning, but Keone Kela retired Marwin Gonzalez before Bush struck out Jose Altuve to end the threat.
Lucroy, who turned 31 on Tuesday, finished with two hits for the Rangers, who improved to .500 (32-32) for the first time since May 25.
Springer put Houston up early with his MLB-leading seventh leadoff home run and Correa pushed the lead to 2-0 with his solo shot to left in the fourth.
The Rangers didn’t have a hit until Lucroy singled to start the fifth inning. Odor followed with a single before Jurickson Profar reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases with one out. Shin-Soo Choo drew a walk with two outs to send a run home and chase Peacock. He was replaced by Will Harris, who retired Elvis Andrus to limit the damage.
Rangers: OF Carlos Gomez (right hamstring strain) is scheduled to play seven innings in a rehabilitation start for Double-A Frisco on Wednesday and if that goes well he could rejoin the Rangers as soon as Friday.
Astros: OF Josh Reddick was out on Tuesday after suffering a mild concussion crashing into the wall in right field trying to make a catch on Monday. Hinch said Reddick was being evaluated on Tuesday and the Astros weren’t sure if he’ll need to go on the 7-day concussion list.
Springer is one home run shy of matching the franchise record for most leadoff home runs in a season which he set last year and Craig Biggio accomplished in 2001. He’s the second player in MLB history to have seven leadoff homers through June 13 of a season and first since Brady Anderson in 1996 for the Orioles.
Rangers: Andrew Cashner (3-5, 3.17 ERA) will start in the finale of this series on Wednesday night. He allowed six hits and one run in seven innings in a 5-2 win over Washington on Friday.
Astros: Francis Martes (0-0, 9.82) is scheduled to make his first major league start on Wednesday. The 21-year-old, who is Houston’s top prospect, yielded four hits and four runs in 3 2/3 innings in his major league debut on Friday against the Angels.
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