HOUSTON -- The Rangers, after missing on multiple opportunities to put the game away, scored two runs in the top of the 11th and held on for a 5-3 victory over the Astros on Sunday afternoon at Minute Maid Park.
The Rangers ended up taking two of three from the Astros and are 11-2 against them this season. The Rangers also have a seven-game lead over the Mariners and a 7 1/2-game lead over the Astros in the American League West. The Astros have lost 10 of their past 13 games to drop into third place.
The Rangers had left the bases loaded in the previous two innings. Reliever Matt Bush pitched two innings to get the victory, striking out George Springer with two on and two out in the 11th to end it.
"Any time I leave this podium after a loss, I hate it," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I don't care what team is on the other side. I don't care what division they're in, what league they're in, how the loss happened. … I'm not naive. I know that those games [against the Rangers] are going to be magnified … but if we had lost to an unnamed team not named the Rangers, I would be just as disappointed."
Rangers starter Yu Darvish was denied his first win since June 3 despite pitching seven scoreless innings. He allowed five hits, did not walk a batter and struck out eight in his longest outing of the season.
Astros starter Joe Musgrove, in his first Major League start, also went seven innings and allowed just one run on five hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out six, leaving after throwing 99 pitches and the Astros trailing, 1-0.
"His first two outings show that he's a real pitcher," Hinch said. "He's a guy that has some competitiveness to him and showed some moxie to compete."
The Rangers took a 3-0 lead after a two-run double in the top of the eighth by Profar. But the Astros scored two in the bottom of the inning off reliever Jeremy Jeffress on an RBI double by Alex Bregman and a run-scoring single by Jose Altuve. Tony Kemp's RBI single in the ninth off closer Sam Dyson tied the game.
"You always want to win, especially against the team who is behind or chasing you -- well-played game," Desmond said. "Darvish did a great job, bullpen did a great job, offense was scratching and clawing, and we got as much as we needed."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Dyson blows third save: Dyson was asked to protect a 3-2 lead in the ninth, but he walked A.J. Reed with one out. Jake Marisnick bunted pinch-runner Carlos Gomez to second, and Kemp brought him home with a single to center. Gomez just beat a strong throw from Desmond by sliding around catcher Jonathan Lucroy's tag.
"Jeffress and Sam, not what they were looking for today," Banister said. "But sometimes they need a little help, and you have to draw it up in the dirt."
K is for Ken: After allowing a double to score two inherited runners and put the Rangers up, 3-0, in the top of the eighth, Ken Giles came up with big strikeout after big strikeout, including four in the top of the ninth -- three with the bases loaded and six in total -- to keep the Rangers' offense at bay long enough for a Houston rally.
"He's been so good in his run here of sort of getting his swag back in terms of how he goes about it," Hinch said. "He comes out there with a ton of confidence and he doesn't back down. … His ability to get swings and misses and make the hitters look uncomfortable is exactly why he's a back-end reliever that we're going to lean on heavily." More >
Profar comes through: Profar's two-run double snapped an 0-for-15 slump. It was one of the Rangers' five hits in 21 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
"My swing had gotten a little out of whack, so it was good to get a hit like that," Profar said.
K is for Kemp, too: With the Astros' offense looking as listless as it had for most of the homestand, rookie outfielder Kemp, who wasn't even on the roster until Sunday morning and had to visit the dentist earlier in the day, pinch-hit for Jason Castro and brought the Astros to life. Kemp hit three singles, including one to tie the game in the ninth, and scored the Astros' first run.
"It's been a crazy past 24 hours," Kemp said, "but I wouldn't change it for anything." More >
"Anywhere. It doesn't matter. Even if [Hinch] wants to put me on left-bench, I'll be good at that." -- Kemp, on where he's comfortable playing
HARRIS' STRUGGLES CONTINUE
All-Star reliever Will Harris entered the game in the eighth with the Astros trailing, 1-0, and put together another rough performance, allowing two runs in one-third of an inning. Harris (1-2, 2.62 ERA) has allowed at least one run in his past four appearances, which is the longest streak of his career.
WHAT'S NEXT Rangers: Left-hander Cole Hamels opens a two-game series for the Rangers when they play the Rockies at 7:40 p.m. CT Monday at Coors Field. Hamels is 3-1 with a 1.59 ERA in four starts since the All-Star break.
Astros: Houston will hand the ball to right-hander Collin McHugh on Monday night at 7:10 p.m. CT against the Twins at Target Field. McHugh has given up a combined 22 hits and 13 runs in his past three starts.