Nathaniel Lowe keyed a six-run seventh inning with a leadoff double and Marcus Semien capped the uprising with a grand slam as the Texas Rangers claimed the rubber match of their three-game series with the host Houston Astros 9-1 on Sunday
Semien struck the critical blow by lining an 0-2 splitter from Astros reliever Hector Neris into the left-field seats for his seventh career grand slam. Lowe ignited the rally by extending his hitting streak to a career-high-tying 11 games with his double off Astros starter Framber Valdez (1-2)
Valdez had cruised through six innings, entering the seventh with just 71 pitches on his ledger and having allowed only two baserunners after Texas catcher Jonah Heim doubled with two outs in the second inning and walked with one out in the fifth.
But things quickly came undone for Valdez after Lowe doubled and Adolis Garcia reached on a throwing error by shortstop Jeremy Pena. Valdez allowed a single to Josh Jung that loaded the bases and then walked Heim for a second time as Lowe scored to snap the scoreless deadlock.
Robbie Grossman chased Valdez with an RBI single to left that plated Garcia and doubled the Rangers' lead to 2-0. Neris entered, recorded two outs, and quickly put Semien in an 0-2 hole. But Semien broke through with his second homer, providing the Rangers a 6-0 advantage
Valdez had logged seven innings in each of his two previous starts. The Rangers tagged him for five runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks. Valdez posted seven strikeouts in six innings
The Astros loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the seventh against Texas reliever Brock Burke (1-0). However, Jonathan Hernandez and Will Smith teamed to limit the damage to one run, a bases-loaded walk drawn by Alex Bregman
For the second time in as many starts, Texas left-hander Andrew Heaney did not surrender an earned run. He stranded baserunners in all five of his innings pitched, including Pena in scoring position in the second and fourth innings and Jake Meyers at third base in the fifth.
Heaney allowed two hits and issued three walks while recording four strikeouts.
The Rangers had dropped 10 consecutive series in Houston since completing a three-game sweep July 27-29, 2018
In addition to Semien (four), Heim and Leody Taveras had multi-RBI games.
--Field Level Media