ARLINGTON, Texas – Starter Luis Garcia and rescuer Phil Maton both scored “pristine innings” – nine shots and three strikeouts – and Martin Maldonado scored a crux hit in a six-run first inning that brought the Houston Astros to one. 9-2 victory for the Texas Rangers on Wednesday afternoon.
Maldonado scored a double good for two points in the opening inning before hitting a home run. Suddenly, the Astros (39-24), leaders of the Western Division of the American League, have won the seventh consecutive series against their Texan rivals.
In six innings on the mound, Garcia (4-5) scored nine strikeouts without taking a walk, limiting Rangers’ batters to two runs and four hits.
Garcia had a five strikeout streak that started with three strikeouts out of nine shots in the second inning. His victims were Nathaniel Lowe, Ezequiel Duran and Brad Miller.
These are the same three batters who marched to the pot against Maton at the start of the seventh inning. And even Maton left them in the dust with just nine hits.
According to Astros and Rangers officials, this is the first time in major league history that two clean innings have taken place in the same game, whether it’s on the same roster or one of each of two teams.
After the game, both Astros pitchers found a ball from their pristine innings in the lockers, with tags identifying their feat.
Maldonado, a 35-year-old receiver, found himself at the heart of the enterprise.
“To be a part of such a moment, every time you participate in a historic event (…) I am happy to have been the receiver in this situation,” Maldonado said, adding that he does not remember participating in a tour spotless, let alone two.
For his part, coach Dusty Baker, whose 73-year-old is turning, was pleased with the performance of his players.
“It’s been a long time since we had a first race like this,” said Baker.
“A couple of records, the same three players who alternated on three strikes with nine shots. (…) So it was a good day for us, ”he added.
The only American League West club with a positive record, the Astros had suffered four defeats in five outings after conceding their first game of their series against Rangers.
The Astros won 4-3 on Tuesday night with a four-run push in the eighth inning before kicking off the last game of this series with another outburst.
In that first inning, the Astros sent 11 batters to the pot. The top nine faced Tyson Miller (0-1), who gave up after conceding a brace to Maldonado, ninth on serve, on the right.
Miller had been recalled from Rangers’ AAA-level Round Rock when the team put Glenn Otto’s name on the COVID-19 absentee list just hours before Friday’s game against the Chicago White Sox, in which Otto was to be the holder.
Miller pitched two innings and a third of relief on Friday and was sent to the mound on Wednesday when it was Otto’s turn to face the Astros.
Astros leadoff hitter Jose Altuve was hit by Miller’s third pitch of the game, before a single and a walk filled the bases.
Yordan Alvarez then scored a double good for two runs, to extend his winning streak to 16 games with at least one presence on the track. Kyler Tucker continued with an infield out which produced another run.
Maldonado started the fourth inning with his fifth homer of the season for 7-2. Yuli Gurriel added a two-point homer in the eighth.
Garcia’s strikeout streak ended when Corey Seager scored his 13th homer of the season, in the third inning.
Elsewhere in America :
White Sox 13 – Tigers 0
CWS: Yoan Moncada has had 5 hits and 5 RBI. He, Danny Mendick and Seby Zavala both made it home.
DET: The Tigers only had 4 CCs and were wiped out in this series.
Gemini 5 – Sailors 0
MIN: Sonny Gray didn’t concede a five-innings run on the mound.
SEA: Abraham Toro entered the field as a pinch-hitter in the 7th inning and was eliminated in a drive to the right field.
Spokes 3 – Yankees 4
TB: Play was suspended for nearly 17 minutes when Randy Arozarena was hit by a pitch from Miguel Castro in the 8th inning
NYY: – Aaron Judge scored his 25th homer of the season and the Yankees took their 13th straight home win
Athletics 1 – Red Sox 10
OAK: Matt Davidson led in his solo run with a solo homer in the 6th inning
BOS: Alex Verdugo scored 3 CS, including a home run, and led in 4 runs