ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)All-Star rookie slugger Adolis Garcia keeps working to adjust as the league makes adjustments to him, and his grand slam helped the Texas Rangers avoid being swept again.
”I’ve been working on hitting the ball in my zone, and focusing on making sure that I don’t miss my pitch,” the Cuban outfielder said through a translator. ”That’s basically what I’ve been trying to do lately, and it seems to be working.”
Garcia went deep the opposite way for the second game in a row, going to right field this time for the first grand slam by a Texas batter in almost two years, and DJ Peters had a massive homer while driving in three runs as the rebuilding Rangers beat the AL West-leading Houston Astros 13-2 in the series finale Sunday.
Garcia’s 29th homer came during an eight-run outburst in the fifth, the highest-scoring inning for the last-place Rangers this season. Peters led it off with a towering 450-foot drive to straightaway center field that made it 6-2 and chased Houston starter Zack Greinke (11-5).
”A weird one,” Greinke said. ”I felt like we had a good game plan, but they were really good today.”
Taylor Hearn (4-4) pitched a career-high 6 2/3 innings with six strikeouts and no walks to win his second consecutive start. The big left-hander, who has long expressed his desire to being a starter and is getting that opportunity, allowed two runs and six hits.
”He’s really, really impressive right now,” manager Chris Woodward said.
”Just try to establish myself and come after those guys,” Hearn said. ”This is a really good lineup, and to do what I did today was huge.”
Hearn retired the first 12 batters he faced before Yordan Alvarez opened the fifth with his 28th homer, a shot pulled to right that ricocheted high off the foul pole. It was the sixth homer in nine games for Alvarez.
The Astros (77-53) had their four-game winning streak snapped with their most lopsided loss of the season.
They were trying to sweep Texas for the fourth time in five series this year. The Rangers won all three games at home in May, twice on Garcia walk-off hits in the 10th inning, but lost the first two games this weekend.
Texas (45-85) won for only the 10th time in 40 games since the All-Star break, snapping a four-game losing streak. The Rangers had lost their last five home games.
Peters had an RBI double that capped a three-run first that put the Rangers ahead to stay. They opened the game with three consecutive singles, the last by Garcia to drive in the first run. Peters added another sac fly in the third, when Jake Meyers made an impressive catch going to his knees on the warning track in deep left center.
Garcia and Peters, among 13 rookies on the Rangers’ 26-man roster, both finished a triple shy of a cycle.
Greinke struck out one and walked two while allowing a season high-matching six runs and nine hits in his four-plus innings. Bryan Abreu then gave up seven runs while recording only two outs.
”When I feel good, it usually works out,” said Greinke, the MLB active leader with his 219 wins and 486 starts. ”I’m too concerned about stuff and location. Just one of those days where the other team was locked in.”
The Rangers had been the only MLB team this season without a grand slam, and their last was Rougned Odor’s on September 28, 2019, against the New York Yankees. Garcia moved within one of Pete Incaviglia’s Rangers rookie record of 30 homers set in 1986.
The last time the Rangers had this large of a winning margin against the Astros was a 14-3 win on Sept. 16, 2015. … With primary backup Jonah Heim still on the COVID-19 injured list, Jose Trevino became the Rangers catcher to start eight games in a row since Gerald Laird in May 2007.
Astros: Catcher Jason Castro was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Thursday, with right knee discomfort. Catcher Garrett Stubbs was recalled from Triple-A Sugar Land.
Rangers: Woodward said he wasn’t overly optimistic about the status of INF Andy Ibanez, who felt even more soreness after he exited Saturday’s game with left hamstring tightness. … INF Charlie Culberson (COVID-19 IL) went through some pregame work, and could be activated Monday or Tuesday.
Astros: RHP Luis Garcia (10-6, 3.21 ERA) starts Monday night in the opener of a three-game series at AL West rival Seattle.
Rangers: A.J. Alexy will be the third Texas starting pitcher in six days to make his big league debut. The 23-year-old right-hander pitches Monday night in a series opener against Colorado. He came to Texas as part of the 2017 deadline trade that sent Yu Darvish to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
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