Framber Valdez recorded his fifth consecutive quality start and the Houston Astros extended a pair of winning streaks with a 5-1 victory over the visiting Texas Rangers on Thursday.
Houston extended its home winning streak to nine consecutive games by defeating the Rangers for an 11th consecutive time at Minute Maid Park.
Valdez (3-2) allowed one run on six hits and two walks with seven strikeouts over seven innings, lowering his ERA to 2.68. Astros reliever Hector Neris struck out all three batters in the eighth inning and Ryan Pressly did the same in the ninth to snap Texas’ four-game overall winning streak.
Jose Altuve went 4-for-5 with two doubles for the Astros, who have alternated wins and losses over their past seven games. Martin Maldonado put the game away with a three-run double in the eighth inning.
Valdez survived a rocky start that included a leadoff walk to Eli White and a balk that enabled White to take third base with one out in the first inning. White subsequently scored on Corey Seager’s single. Valdez surrendered another single in the inning before escaping the frame and finding his rhythm.
He suppressed a two-out uprising by getting Andy Ibanez to tap a grounder back to the mound in the fourth. Valdez worked around a one-out double from Marcus Semien in the fifth and leadoff singles by Adolis Garcia and Ibanez in the sixth and seventh, respectively. Valdez executed this handiwork while protecting a one-run lead, retiring Semien on an infield popup to strand Ibanez at second in the seventh.
Texas went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven baserunners against Valdez.
Houston quickly erased its one-run deficit by scoring twice in the bottom of the first. Altuve hit a leadoff double and scored on Aledmys Diaz’s one-out single. Diaz scored one batter later when Kyle Tucker lined a single to right.
Rangers right-hander Glenn Otto (1-2) was otherwise effective in his six-inning outing, limiting the Astros to two runs on seven hits and three walks with two strikeouts.
In the eighth, Maldonado delivered a bases-clearing, two-out, two-strike, opposite-field double to right-center field off Rangers left-hander Matt Moore.