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Astros escape cellar with 8-4 win, sweep at Texas

  • Article by: STEPHEN HAWKINS
  • Associated Press
  • July 9, 2014 - 10:35 PM

ARLINGTON, Texas — Robbie Grossman snapped an 0-for-28 slide with a career-high four hits and the Houston Astros climbed out of last place in the AL West, completing a three-game sweep with an 8-4 victory over All-Star pitcher Yu Darvish and the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night.

Grossman and rookie George Springer homered for the Astros, who moved into fourth place by a percentage point over slumping Texas.

Springer also made an incredible running catch in the third inning. The center fielder leaped on the warning track, reached over his head and held onto the ball when he slammed into the wall.

Dallas Keuchel (9-5), one of five candidates for the final spot on the AL All-Star team, allowed four runs and eight hits over 6 2-3 innings.

The Rangers lost for the 10th time in 11 games and have dropped 18 of 21. At 38-53, their .418 winning percentage is the worst in the majors — just behind Arizona and Houston, both 39-54 for a .419 mark.

It is the first time in their two seasons since switching leagues that the Astros have not been in fifth place in the five-team AL West after mid-April.

Darvish (8-5), who had thrown 20 consecutive scoreless innings while winning his last three home starts, gave up a season-high 10 hits and six runs. He threw 109 pitches to get through six innings with eight strikeouts.

Against Houston at home in April, Darvish allowed one hit over eight scoreless innings. The Japanese ace also had two near no-hitters on the road against the Astros last season, one in which he retired the first 26 batters.

Carlos Corporan had a two-run double in the sixth to break a 4-all tie. An inning later, Springer hit his 19th homer, a two-run shot off reliever Jason Frasor.

Grossman's solo homer, about 329 feet into the right-field corner off Darvish, made it 4-all with two outs in the fifth. Grossman had a double in the first inning and an RBI single in the third.

Before getting recalled this week by the Astros, Grossman had an 18-game hitting streak at Triple-A Oklahoma City. But he was hitless over a span of 28 at-bats in the majors after going 0 for 4 on Tuesday night to start his third stint with Houston this season.

Adrian Beltre extended his hitting streak to 13 games with an RBI single in the Texas first. The All-Star third baseman is batting .494 (38 for 77) in his last 20 home games, and is second in the AL at .336 overall.

Houston took a 2-1 lead in the second by scoring twice with two outs. Corporan doubled before Enrique Hernandez tripled and came home on a wild pitch.

The Rangers loaded the bases with none out in the bottom half before Daniel Robertson's two-run double and a sacrifice fly by Shin-Soo Choo.

NOTES: Springer also made a running catch in the right-center gap to end the third. ... Beltre was called out on strike three in the third when he stepped out of the box but wasn't granted time. When he came to bat in the sixth, Beltre had an animated conversation with plate Bill Miller. ... INF Donnie Murphy, designated for assignment by the Rangers on Monday, rejected an outright assignment to Triple-A Round Rock and was placed on unconditional release waivers.

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