The Sports Xchange

By MoiseKapenda Bower, The Sports Xchange

Astros take it to Rangers, Darvish

HOUSTON -- In a season bloated with disappointment and despair, the Texas Rangers should at least feel content with expecting right-hander Yu Darvish to continue his career-long domination of the Houston Astros.

Right?

The Astros pounced on Darvish for the second time in as many starts and right-hander Scott Feldman logged his third consecutive quality start in an 8-3 win over Texas on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.

Feldman (6-8) allowed three runs, eight hits and one walk with a season-high-tying six strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. He needed right-hander Josh Fields to clean up a bases-loaded mess in the seventh, but Feldman easily outdueled Darvish.

Darvish won all three of his starts at Minute Maid Park in 2013, flirting with a perfect game in one while posting a 1.52 ERA with 37 strikeouts and four walks. Then, on July 9, Darvish allowed six earned runs and 10 hits in six innings against the Astros in Arlington. He wasn't even that effective in his third appearance against Houston this season.

"John Mallee, our hitting coach, he's done a tremendous job with getting these guys information on how we can make adjustments after a guy had success against us," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "And to the credit of our players, they've taken that information and they've done a good job against arguably one of the best pitchers in our league."

Darvish walked Astros right fielder Robbie Grossman and designated hitter Chris Carter two batter apart in the first inning, and both scored on singles by first baseman Jon Singleton and third baseman Matt Dominguez, with Carter coming home when Texas second baseman Rougned Odor made an errant toss after fielding the infield hit by Dominguez.

Darvish had to grind out the ensuing three innings, stranding three baserunners and benefiting when Astros center fielder Jake Marisnick failed in his attempt to turn a leadoff single into a double in the fourth.

In the fifth inning, however, Darvish (10-7) found no reprieve.

"Just didn't have any command of his fastball and couldn't find another pitch he could go to until he went back to that fastball," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Just didn't get comfortable on the mound tonight, had no rhythm. Just wasn't his night."

Singleton and Dominguez delivered in succession again, with Singleton driving in Jason Castro and Carter with a double to right and Dominguez chasing Darvish with an RBI single that scored left fielder Marc Krauss.

Darvish departed with none out in the fifth inning having allowing six runs (five earned), nine hits and four walks with seven strikeouts.

"Although I struggled I was able to get through four innings and minimized the damage," Darvish said. "But I gave up that initial hit in the fifth inning with no outs and they were able to get some more hits and the rest was history.

"I'm accountable for what happened. I just didn't have a good start."

After the Astros chased Darvish, they tacked on runs in the sixth and eighth innings to extend their winning streak over Texas to seven games. Grossman scored both times to continue his exceptional series. He followed his three-hit, one-walk effort in the series opener on Friday night by reaching base four times and scoring three runs.

"He's a great pitcher obviously," Grossman said of Darvish. "The more pitches we could get him to throw early the better off we could be."

Rangers right fielder Jim Adduci cut into the Astros' 6-0 lead in the sixth inning with his first major league home run -- a two-run shot to right field that snapped a 12-inning scoreless streak by Feldman.

NOTES: Rangers C Chris Gimenez cleared waivers and will take some time to determine whether he will accept a minor league assignment. Gimenez was designated for assignment on Aug. 7 after hitting .262 over 34 games with the Rangers. ... Astros 2B Jose Altuve was not in the starting lineup after leaving in the fifth inning Friday night because of neck discomfort. The training staff informed Altuve that an additional day of rest should allow him to return on Sunday. ... Rangers RF Alex Rios (sore right ankle) missed a second consecutive game but is scheduled to return to the starting lineup for the series finale. ... Astros OF Alex Presley participated in batting practice and inched closer to reinstatement from the 15-day disabled list. Presley was placed on the disabled list on July 8 because of a right oblique strain.

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