Houston prospects Fisher, Martes lead way in series finale
By Christian Boutwell and Richard Dean
HOUSTON -- All the Astros needed was one inning Wednesday night.
Beginning with back-to-back homers from Derek Fisher -- in his MLB debut -- and Jake Marisnick, the Astros scored nine runs in the sixth inning against the Rangers. With runs aplenty, Houston ended the Rangers' five-game winning streak with a 13-2 win at Minute Maid Park.
"That's what we're capable of," Marisnick said. "Putting up at-bats like that."
After the Rangers clinched the series with wins on Monday and Tuesday, the Astros -- who are 7-6 in June -- knocked 19 hits against Texas and earned their MLB-best 45th win.
In his first Major League start, Astros top prospect Francis Martes faced little danger until he wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam, twice, in the fifth inning. Martes tossed five innings, surrendered three hits and one run on a wild pitch, and struck out seven on 88 pitches for his first big league win.
"It was encouraging to watch Martes battle through really his only tough inning of his outing," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "He controlled everything up until that point. Then to have the wild pitch that turns into a run, the walk and facing two left-handed hitters, which is the tough part of their order, man, he handled himself really well."
Joey Gallo followed the Astros' offensive eruption with a 466-foot home run to the batter's eye in center field with an exit velocity of 111.7 mph, according to Statcast™. It was his longest home run in the Statcast™ era.
"It came off a long inning, and I just wanted to get on base and got a fastball in the zone and was able to handle it," Gallo said. "If I hit the ball on the barrel, it usually goes pretty far."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Sixth-inning explosion: To start, Fisher homered. In the next at-bat, Marisnick did, too. Following the Astros' fourth pair of back-to-back homers this season, George Springer singled and Jose Altuve was hit by a pitch from reliever Jeremy Jeffress. The Rangers then brought in Tony Barnette from the bullpen, and he walked Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltran and allowed singles to Brian McCann and Marwin Gonzalez before prompting another pitching change. Dillon Gee surrendered an RBI single to Fisher -- for his second hit in the inning -- before Marisnick was hit by a pitch and Springer added a two-run double as the Astros built a 13-1 lead.
Martes escapes trouble: Martes was left to his own devices to fix the fifth inning. With the bases loaded and no outs, the Astros' top prospect wiggled his way out of a jam with a strikeout, a popout and another strikeout to limit the Rangers to one run via a wild pitch.
"He was emotional," Hinch said. "He showed a lot of emotion coming off the mound to hold them to one run in that inning. It really set us up for some nice energy."
"Thought he played great, five really good at-bats. He'll never ever forget tonight. His first game to contribute like that and provide some energy and some buzz on a team that's had quite a bit of energy and buzz for the season is pretty remarkable." -- Hinch, on Fisher
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The nine runs the Rangers gave up in the sixth is the most they've allowed in an inning since April 15, 2016, vs. Baltimore (nine-run seventh). It marked their most runs allowed on the road since July 3, 2012, at the White Sox (nine-run second).
RANGERS FINE WITH 5-1 TRIP
The lopsided outcome didn't overshadow a successful road trip for the Rangers. It started with a three-game sweep at Washington and ended with a series victory over the first-place Astros.
"It didn't end the way we wanted it to, but we got some good momentum going home," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "We got [Adrian] Beltre back, we got some guys swinging the bat much better, in [Rougned] Odor. Our starting rotation is going to get back in good shape pretty quick."
Added Gallo: "It's bad to lose the last game because of that feeling when you leave. But I just said to Rougned, we went 5-1 on this road stand against two really good teams. So we should hold our heads high and continue that momentum into our homestand."
WHAT'S NEXT Rangers: After an off-day Thursday, Texas begins a three-game series on Friday at 7:05 p.m. CT against Seattle at Globe Life Park. Right-hander Tyson Ross, who hasn't pitched since Opening Day 2016 with San Diego, makes his Rangers debut.
Astros: Houston is off Thursday and continues its homestand with three games against Boston, starting on Friday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Mike Fiers, who has won three straight starts, squares off with lefty Drew Pomeranz in the opener.