BASEBALL | MLB

Texas Rangers vs. Houston Astros Pick & Prediction JUL 25TH 2021

Complete TV: AT&T Sportsnet | Bally Sports Network Minute Maid Park Houston
971Rangers Texas
972Astros Houston
OP
8.5
-230
CU
8.5o -110
-1.5 -130
ML
ML: 475
ML: 450
Partials
5 6
0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0
Score
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3
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Astros manager Dusty Baker didn't deliberate at all when the time came to make a decision on pulling left-hander Framber Valdez, who worked six hitless innings in Houston's 4-1 home victory over the Texas Rangers on Saturday.

Valdez labored with his control throughout and issued six walks against four strikeouts while throwing just 53 of his 99 pitches for strikes. His season high for pitches in a start is 108 in a 7-3 home win over the Chicago White Sox on June 19. In truth, an individual no-hitter was unlikely.

"I didn't get too frustrated by that," Valdez said of being lifted. "I recognized that I wasted a lot of pitches. I know what I need to do, and I know I need to make adjustments so I can get deeper into games. I didn't take it to heart because I know what I have to do to stay in games longer."

Right-hander Zack Greinke (9-3, 3.58 ERA) will start the series finale for the Astros on Sunday. He allowed two runs on five hits over 5 1/3 innings in his previous start, a 4-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians on July 19.

Greinke leads the club with 10 quality starts, and the Astros are unbeaten in those games. He is second in the American League in starts (20) and ranks fourth in innings (102 2/3) and wins.

Greinke is 6-6 with a 3.13 ERA over 20 career appearances (18 starts) against Texas, including 2-0 with a 4.26 ERA this season.

Left-hander Taylor Hearn (2-3, 4.70) will start Sunday as Texas attempts to avert the series sweep and an 0-9 record at Minute Maid Park this season.

Hearn will make his 31st appearance and his second start of 2021, with his previous start coming against the Oakland Athletics, when he allowed four runs on two hits and three walks while recording only two outs in a 13-6 loss on June 22. He has made seven consecutive relief appearances since, going 0-1 with a 0.90 ERA while allowing a .094/.194/.094 slash line.

Hearn is 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA over five career relief appearances against the Astros, with that victory coming May 21, when Hearn allowed one unearned run on one hit and one walk with two strikeouts in one inning in the Rangers' 7-5 win.

The Rangers, no-hit twice previously this season by the Yankees' Corey Kluber and the Padres' Joe Musgrove, broke up the Astros' combined no-hit bid in the eighth inning when shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa flared a leadoff single into shallow right field. Despite earning six walks off Valdez, the Rangers were unable to get a hit during his six innings on the mound.

"I was really confident that we were going to do some things against Framber," Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. "Now, he's got good stuff. This guy's got an elite curveball with a good two-seamer and changeup to go with it. We didn't really chase his curveball, which got us in trouble the last time we faced him. The last thing is we have to get the ball in the air.

"However, you have to find a way to get under that sinker; you have to do it. We have to mature into the ability to (execute the game plan) if you're going to survive in this league. It's a good test and a good conversation we're going to have (Sunday)."

--Field Level Media

Texas Rangers vs. Houston Astros Recap JUL 25TH 2021

Abraham Toro slugged a go-ahead home run and Cristian Javier escaped a bases-loaded jam as the Houston Astros completed a three-game sweep of the visiting Texas Rangers with a 3-1 win on Sunday.

The Rangers finished 0-9 at Minute Maid Park this season and dropped their 12th consecutive game, tied for the second-longest losing skid in franchise history.

Texas did take its first lead since the first inning against Oakland on July 10, with center fielder Eli White smacking a home run, his sixth, to left field off Astros starter Zack Greinke with one out in the top of the fifth inning.

The advantage was short-lived. Toro turned on a 2-2 fastball from Rangers right-hander Dennis Santana (0-1) with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, driving the pitch 380 feet to right for a 2-1 lead.

An inning later, Kyle Tucker added a two-out single off left-hander Joely Rodriguez that scored Yordan Alvarez. Rodriguez walked Alvarez and Carlos Correa before the Tucker at-bat.

Greinke had retired 13 of 14 batters entering the seventh, with White the only batter to reach base. But Texas fashioned a threat to the Astros' two-run lead as David Dahl (single), Curtis Terry (hit by pitch) and Charlie Culberson (walk) reached in succession with no outs. Javier entered and recorded a strikeout of White before getting Isiah Kiner-Falefa to ground into a double play.

Greinke (10-3) allowed one run on five hits and two walks with four strikeouts over six-plus innings. Javier pitched two hitless innings and Ryan Pressly worked the ninth for his 18th save.

Left-hander Taylor Hearn excelled in just his second start of the season for the Rangers, facing the minimum while completing one trip through the Houston lineup. Hearn issued a one-out walk to Michael Brantley in the first inning but induced an inning-ending double play from Alvarez.

Hearn fanned three consecutive batters during one stretch and the Astros squandered another baserunner when Brantley rolled into a double play after Jose Altuve singled off Rangers left-hander Brett Martin to open the fourth. It wasn't until the fifth that Houston broke through.

Texas third baseman Brock Holt and manager Chris Woodward were ejected by plate umpire Tim Timmons in the top of the fifth just prior to the White home run for arguing balls and strikes.

--Field Level Media

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