HOUSTON -- As losses go, this was about as devastating it gets for the reeling Astros.
The first-place Rangers rallied for two runs after two outs in the ninth inning off closer Ken Giles to stun the Astros, 3-2, at Minute Maid Park, sending Houston to its sixth loss in seven games and 15th in 18 tries against Texas this year. With the win, the Rangers' magic number to clinch the American League West dropped to eight.
"Looking at the won-loss record, it means nothing," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "The Astros have a terrific ballclub, a group of players I respect immensely. I am extremely proud of the job our guys have done and how they've stayed engaged in every single game."
Rougned Odor reached on a strikeout-wild pitch with one out in the ninth, stole second and then scored the tying run on a two-out triple to center off the bat of Elvis Andrus, which Statcast™ projected at 405 feet. Jurickson Profar followed with a single to left to score Andrus and put the Rangers ahead, 3-2.
The Astros, who dropped 4 1/2 games back of the Orioles and Blue Jays in the American League Wild Card race, got six strong innings from starter Brad Peacock and solo homers from Jose Altuve and Jason Castro to take a 2-1 lead into the ninth inning, but Giles couldn't hold it as the Rangers posted their 18th last at-bat win of the season while improving to 33-10 in one-run games.
"I've seen and been in some tough ones, and this one is pretty hard," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We had every chance to win the game and obviously strange things happen when we play these guys. … These guys play complete games across the way and we haven't been able to solve them. This one sucks."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Strikeout starts rally: Odor got the Rangers' ninth-inning rally started when Giles struck him out and the ball kicked away from Castro for a wild pitch, allowing him to reach first. Odor then stole second base with ease with Mitch Moreland at the plate, reaching a top speed of 21.3 mph. It helped Odor that Castro managed a modest pop time of 2.1 seconds, his fifth-slowest of 28 that Statcast™ has tracked by him in 2016. Odor reaching on the strikeout was crucial as Moreland struck out, which would've ended the game. Andrus then drove in Odor with his game-tying triple before Profar gave the Rangers the lead with an opposite-field single. More >
"I saw it late," Odor said of the wild pitch. "I was like, 'Oh', and then I ran … I knew [Andrus] hit it really good, and in this ballpark, it's really huge in center field, so I knew that ball was going to get down. That was really huge for him and for the team."
Slump busted: Altuve had been in the midst of a rough September slump, batting a paltry .178 entering Tuesday, but the All-Star second baseman seemed to get back on track Tuesday night, going 3-for-4 and smacking his solo shot -- No. 24 on the season -- 423 feet to the Crawford Boxes, according to Statcast™. It was Altuve's first game with three or more hits since August 29, a 15-8 win over the Orioles. More >
"Jose comes to the ballpark every day with a chance to have this kind of game," Hinch said. "Obviously, when the numbers will tell you he was due to have this kind of game, but we've seen this type of game 50 times it feels like this year. You don't get 200 hits by accident."
Beltre hits No. 30: Beltre got the Rangers on the board when he went to a knee to hit his 30th home run of the season, a solo shot to left field in the first. He reached the 30-homer mark for the fifth time in his career, and third with the Rangers. The ball left his bat at 107.6 mph, according to Statcast™, his hardest hit homer of the year. The home run was No. 443 for Beltre, breaking a tie with Dave Kingman at No. 40 on the all-time list. Next up are Vladimir Guerrero and Jeff Bagwell with 449. More >
"I don't keep track of that," Beltre said regarding the exit velocity. "I don't need to hit it hard. I just need to hit it on the right plane, that's all."
Giles can't close the deal: The Astros' closer had successfully converted each of his last nine save chances before allowing a pair of runs in the ninth inning. Giles, who threw two innings Monday, had pitched scoreless ball in 37 of his previous 47 games since May, going 2-1 with 10 saves. More >
"It's good to have a group of guys like this who aren't beat until they get the 27th out against us. We feel great belief in each other and it's a good thing to be around," -- A.J. Griffin on the Rangers' ninth-inning rally
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Rangers' 87-59 record is tied for their best through 146 games with the 1999 and 2012 teams.
The Astros were 69-1 this season when leading after eight innings before Tuesday.
WHAT'S NEXT Astros: Rookie Joe Musgrove will make his eighth career start when the Astros and Rangers complete their season series Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. CT at Minute Maid Park. Musgrove (2-4, 4.78 ERA) has gone against the Rangers twice in his short career, combining for an 0-1 record and 4.76 ERA.
Rangers: Left-hander Derek Holland will start the series finale at 7:10 p..m CT on Wednesday. Holland was announced the starter after Tuesday's win, and is 2-2 with a 3.22 ERA in four starts since coming off the 60-day disabled list on Aug. 23. .