MLB: Astros bash Rangers for share of AL West lead

By Sports Desk September 04, 2023

Mauricio Dubon and Jose Altuve hit back-to-back home runs on two different occasions to help power the Houston Astros to a 13-6 rout of the Texas Rangers in Monday's opener of a pivotal three-game series between American League West rivals.

Yanier Diaz added a three-run homer, part of a 16-hit barrage that enabled the defending World Series champions to bounce back after being swept at home by the New York Yankees in a three-game series over the weekend.

The win moved the Astros in a virtual tie with Seattle for first place in the AL West after the Mariners lost at Cincinnati on Monday. Texas, which is in the midst of a 4-13 stretch since mid-August, is one game back in the standings.

Houston trailed 3-0 after four innings before scoring three times in the fifth, highlighted by Alex Bregman's game-tying two-run single. After the Rangers went back ahead in the bottom of the inning on Corey Seager's second home run of the game, Dubon and Altuve each homered off Glenn Otto in the sixth to give the Astros a 5-4 edge.

Texas drew back even in the bottom of the sixth on Mitch Garver's solo homer, but the Astros scored six runs in the seventh to put the game out of reach.

After Seager's error allowed two runs to score to put Houston up 8-5, Diaz launched his 21st homer of the season to extend the margin to six runs.

Dubon and Altuve again went back-to-back in the ninth. The hit was Altuve's fourth of the day and he finished with three runs scored.

Seager ended 3 for 5 with three RBIs and Garver went 2 for 3 with two RBIs for Texas, which also got a solo homer from Josh Smith.


Steer's three-run homer helps Reds down Mariners

The Astros got help in their chase for the AL West lead from the Cincinnati Reds, who scored five early runs en route to a 6-3 win over the Seattle Mariners.

Spencer Steer delivered the big blow for Cincinnati with a three-run homer off Bryan Woo in the second inning that staked the Reds to a 5-0 lead. Elly De La Cruz and Hunter Renfroe drove in the first two runs with RBI singles in the first.

While Seattle lost sole possession of first place in the AL West with its third loss in four games, the Reds moved into a tie with Arizona for the National League's final wild card spot. The Diamondbacks kept pace with a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies behind 12 strikeouts from starting pitcher Merrill Kelly. 

Renfroe and Tyler Stephenson each had two hits and an RBI to help Cincinnati withstand solo homers from Julio Rodriguez and Mike Ford.

Woo was handed the loss after surrendering five runs over a five-inning stint in which he walked three batters and hit three others.


Steele dominates Giants as Cubs gain ground in NL Central

Justin Steele allowed just two hits over eight scoreless innings to earn his 16th win of the season and lead the Chicago Cubs to a 5-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants in the opener of another key September three-game series.

Steele (16-3) struck out a career-high 12 while issuing only two walks to win his seventh straight decision and tie Atlanta's Spencer Strider for the major league lead in victories.

The left-hander's show-stopping performance also enabled the Cubs to pull within 2 1/2 games of first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central after the Brewers were dealt a 4-2 loss by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Seiya Suzuki supplied the offence for Chicago with a solo homer in the second inning, an RBI double in the seventh and a run-scoring fielder's choice in the eighth.

Slumping San Francisco was shut out for a second straight game and has now lost four in a row to fall out of a tie for the NL's final wild card spot. The Giants now trail both Cincinnati and Arizona by one game.

Giants starter Logan Webb lasted 6 2/3 innings but lost a third straight start after being charged with three runs on five hits.


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