The Rangers and Astros squared off in the twelfth edition of the 2019 Battle of the Silver Boot (Astros led the season series 6-5). The Rangers sent Jesse Chavez to the bump while the Astros answered with a familiar foe, Gerrit Cole. Both fan bases witnessed an abundant amount of fireworks, including nine home runs combined throughout the night. It was the first time this ballpark saw nine home runs since August 13, 2010, when the Rangers beat Boston in eleven innings that night. The Rangers fell behind four different times and led only after one half-inning. However, it was the club’s resiliency that stamped a Rangers walk-off win on Friday night, taking the first two of a four game set against the Astros.
4th leadoff home run this season for Choo. 20th as a Ranger and 31st career overall. Bottom line, Choo is dynamite at the top of the lineup.#Rangers
— Alex Plinck (@aplinckTX) July 13, 2019
Five of the nine homers hit on Friday came from the Rangers. To lead off the first, Shin-Soo Choo started the night with a bang. Joey Gallo and Danny Santana joined in on the fun with solo home runs of their own (Santana in the second and Gallo in the fourth). In comeback mode, Tim Federowicz launched a shot to left-center field to close the gap to two in the seventh. Finally, it was Ronald Guzman’s “doinker” off the right field foul pole that tied the game at eight. It was the third time in 2019 the Rangers hit five home runs in a game. Ultimately, Danny Santana drove in the walk-off single, scoring Elvis Andrus.
All in favor of changing @_RonaldGuzman name to "Mr. Clutch" say "Ay."
— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) July 13, 2019
The Astros countered with four home runs of their own on Friday. The rookie, Yordan Alvarez, picked up his first career multi-home run game. Both homers came in back-to-back innings (6th and 7th). Alvarez finished the night with driving in three runs (his single in the third did not register an RBI due to the Elvis error). Yuli Gurriel started the long ball barrage to give Houston a 2-1 lead in the second followed by a Jose Altuve home run in the fifth to complete a fourth lead change.
After a 5-0 shutout dominated by Lance Lynn on Thursday, the Rangers responded by going toe-to-toe with one of the best clubs in baseball in a slugfest. I asked Ronald Guzman after the game about how this team can win in multiple fashions. “It’s a hard sport. You can’t predict anything. We are going to come here and take care of our part.” Guzman added, “We’re going to get some good at-bats and good pitches to hit and the bullpen going to come in and the pitchers are going to come in [and] sometimes it’s going to be the other way, but we’re just going to keep fighting and stay in the game.”
— Alex Plinck (@aplinckTX) July 13, 2019
It became a frustrating start for Jesse Chavez on Friday. Chavez allowed three home runs, six earned runs, seven runs total and walked two Astros. However, things got heated in the second inning after the Yuli Gurriel home run. There were a few pitches low and in the zone that home plate umpire Rob Drake did not give to Chavez. Tensions boiled after the inning where there was a discussion after the inning with home plate umpire Drake and Rangers skipper Chris Woodward.
Jesse Chavez commented after the game on what occurred throughout the night. “[Drake] can’t miss those [pitches] in that situation, in all honesty. Yeah I felt like one was close, [but] with the control and command I have on both sides of the plate. I feel like I can warrant a question, and if you do it a couple of times then we’re going to have a problem. Things happen to escalate a little bit tonight on my character part, but it’s not a fault of my character, it’s just the nature of the beast. You can’t miss pitches in that situation.”
Adrian Sampson finished the sixth inning and allowed a two-run bloop single to Tyler White, charged to Chavez’s line. However, the combination of Brett Martin, Jose LeClerc, and Shawn Kelley limited the Astros offense to one run on one hit in two and two-thirds innings pitched. The Astros bullpen pitched two and two-thirds innings but allowed five runs, four earned runs, five hits, and walked three.
Shawn Kelley spoke after the game about the resiliency on all sides of the Rangers. “Any win is big. But, the way we did it, get down several times and fight back, it’s kind of a testament to our resiliency, and kind of what we’ve been doing all year. We don’t fear anybody, and we can play with anybody and win every game.”
The Rangers and Astros have another date Saturday night at Globe Life Park. Texas will send their ace and All-Star, Mike Minor (8-4, 2.54), to the hill while Houston throws veteran lefty, Wade Miley (7-4, 3.28), to the bump. Game time begins at 7:05.
Starting Pitching Note:
I asked Chris Woodward before the game if Jesse Chavez’s role in the rotation is temporary or if there are other plans..“It’s hard to say, right now he’s our starter. That’s all I can say. I like having him out there. He’s still building off of what he’s done as a starter, obviously, he was really good out of the bullpen, but [the] starter is a much different task. As of right now, he’s our starter. We can always move him back if something were to change. We’re not giving him two or three starts and that’s it, right now he’s our starter that’s all I can say.”
I followed up about a possibility of Joe Palumbo easing into the rotation. “I like what I saw from Palumbo, that was really good in Minnesota especially against a good offensive team.” Woodward said, “That was really good to see. He’ll have another start or two to reassess how it goes.”
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