Astros rely on long balls to edge Rangers

Yordan Alvarez capped a stretch of back-to-back-to-back home runs with a titanic blast to right field before the Houston Astros hung on for a 4-3 victory over the visiting Texas Rangers on Friday night.

Alvarez followed solo blasts from Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman with his 474-foot bomb deep into the upper deck for his 10th home run this season. Altuve smacked a leadoff shot to left-center for his 13th dinger before Bregman followed with his 26th home run, a 356-foot shot to left, as Houston ambushed Rangers All-Star left-hander Mike Minor (8-5) in the third inning.

Minor, who also surrendered a leadoff homer to Yuli Gurriel in the second, found a groove immediately thereafter and retired 15 of the final 16 batters he faced. Trailing 4-0, the Rangers didn’t cut into the deficit until there were two outs in the sixth inning.

Astros right-hander Justin Verlander (12-4) delivered a curious start. He allowed at least one baserunner in each of his six frames, with six Rangers reaching scoring position through five. However, Verlander carried a shutout into the sixth and retired Hunter Pence and Nomar Mazara to open that frame before succumbing to the pressure Texas continuously applied.

Rougned Odor and Asdrubal Cabrera smacked back-to-back homers off Verlander to slice the deficit in half, with Odor depositing his 14th home run to left-center before Cabrera knocked his 12th to right. Verlander ended his outing with a strikeout of Jeff Mathis and closed the night with 12 strikeouts against just one walk. He has allowed 28 home runs this season, including 22 solo shots, with a whopping 31.8 percent of his hits allowed clearing the outfield walls.

Texas, which dropped its fifth consecutive game, scratched across a run in the seventh off right-hander Will Harris on Elvis Andrus’ RBI groundout. But Harris recovered with a strikeout of Joey Gallo, his fourth on the night.

In the eighth, Astros reliever Josh James stranded two baserunners.

Astros closer Roberto Osuna worked a perfect ninth for his 21st save.

The Rangers stranded 11 baserunners and finished 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

–Field Level Media

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