Astros continue home dominance against Rangers with 5-1 win

May 19, 2022, 8:28 AM | Updated: 9:26 pm

Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez (59) throws to a Texas Rangers batter during the fir...

Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez (59) throws to a Texas Rangers batter during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

(AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

              Texas Rangers starting pitcher Glenn Otto throws to a Houston Astros batter during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
              Texas Rangers third baseman Charlie Culberson, left, makes the tag on Houston Astros runner Alex Bregman, right, who loses his helmet on the contact during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Houston. Bregman was trying to advance from first on a single by Aledmys Diaz. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
              Houston Astros batter Kyle Tucker hits an RBI single in front of Texas Rangers catcher Jonah Heim during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
              Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez (59) throws to a Texas Rangers batter during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston catcher Martín Maldonado entered Thursday’s game batting just .116.

But with the Astros clinging to a one-run lead and the bases loaded with two outs in the eighth inning, manager Dusty Baker decided to stick with the veteran instead of using a pinch hitter.

Baker’s decision paid off when Maldonado hit a three-run double to give the Astros some insurance in a 5-1 win over the Texas Rangers.

“Sometimes, in the right circumstance, you’ve got to give a confidence at-bat to somebody,” Baker said. “It was a left-hander and fortunate for us Martín cleared the bases. You can’t hit for him all the time or else he’ll never get any confidence.”

Jose Altuve added a season-high four hits to back a strong start by Framber Valdez and help the Astros continue their home dominance of the Rangers.

The victory extended Houston’s winning streak at home against the Rangers to 11. Texas went 0-9 at Minute Maid Park last season and hasn’t won in Houston since Sept. 16, 2020.

The Astros, who lost two of the last three on the road, won their ninth straight overall at home.

Valdez (3-2) allowed six hits and a run while tying a season high with seven strikeouts in seven innings for his second straight win. The left-hander got off to a shaky start with a leadoff walk and a balk in the first that helped the Rangers take a 1-0 lead. He settled after that to hold them scoreless over the next six innings and lower his ERA to 2.68.

“He was good,” Baker said. “He was very good, and he dialed it up when he had to. He was probably throwing harder in that seventh inning than he was any other time in the game. He emptied the tank. He wanted that victory bad.”

Altuve, who hit two doubles, scored in the first to tie it before an RBI single by Kyle Tucker put Houston on top 2-1.

Josh Sborz walked three straight batters to load the bases with one out in the eighth and was replaced by Matt Moore. Moore struck out José Siri before Maldonado smacked his double to clear the bases and make it 5-1.

“Being able to help on the offensive side … that was huge,” Maldonado said.

Glenn Otto (1-2) pitched well after giving up the two runs early, but the Rangers couldn’t provide any run support after the first to keep the rookie winless since April 22. He yielded seven hits and two runs in a career-high six innings.

“They didn’t hit him hard,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said. “Early on they hit a couple of balls hard, but after that he did a really, really nice job for us.”

Eli White drew a leadoff walk before advancing to second on a groundout by Marcus Semien. A balk by Valdez sent White to third and the Rangers took the lead when White scored on a single by Corey Seager.

Altuve opened Houston’s first with a double and moved to third on a wild pitch. Otto plunked Alex Bregman before Altuve scored on a one-out single by Aledmys Díaz to tie it. Bregman was thrown out at third on the play and Díaz moved to second.

Tucker put Houston up 2-1 when he lined a single to right field to score Díaz.

The Astros had a shot to add to the lead in the second inning with Siri was on second base with two outs. Altuve singled and Siri sprinted toward home, but Charlie Culberson’s throw beat him there to end the inning.


Rangers: C Mitch Garver was activated from the 10-day injured list before Thursday’s game. OF Nick Solak was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to make room for him on the roster.


Both of the Houston Texans’ first-round picks in this year’s draft threw out ceremonial first pitches before Thursday’s game. Kenyon Green, an offensive lineman taken 15th overall, went first and threw a strike. Not to be outdone, defensive back Derek Stingley Jr., who was the third pick, followed with a strike, too.


Houston’s Cristian Javier (2-1, 3.20 ERA) opposes Martín Pérez (2-2, 2.01) when the series continues Friday night.


More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

7 months ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

7 months ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

7 months ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

7 months ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

7 months ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

7 months ago

Astros continue home dominance against Rangers with 5-1 win