Photo: Wikimedia Commons
HOUSTON (AP) — Ian Kinsler was upset in the third inning on Wednesday night after he was hit in the stomach by a pitch, but charged with a strike when the umpire ruled it a missed bunt attempt.He argued and Texas manager Ron Washington came out to argue, too, before he continued his at-bat.
When he launched his second homer in as many at-bats four pitches later, Kinsler changed his tune on the call.
Kinsler homered twice for the first time in almost two years and Colby Lewis had another solid start to lead the Rangers to a 3-2 win over the Houston Astros.
Kinsler hit a leadoff homer and also went deep in the third inning to help Texas to an early 3-0 lead. It was the eighth multi-home run game of his career and his first since August 2009 against the Yankees.
“We won the game by one run, so I’ll take it. He got the call right,” Kinsler said of the play where he was hit before breaking into a huge smile.
In the end, Washington was also glad home plate umpire Bob Davidson called it a strike.
“He said the strike supersedes the hit by the pitch and it worked in our favour because he ended up getting us another run,” Washington said.
Lewis (7-7) pitched six scoreless innings before giving up a pair of runs in the seventh inning to cut the Rangers lead to one.
He allowed six hits and struck out six as the Rangers won their eighth straight game in Houston.
“Colby was great tonight,” Washington said. “He just got into that seventh inning and two pitches made me have to make a decision to get him out of that ball game. But up until that point he was just outstanding, had everything working.”
Carlos Lee had a solo homer for the Astros, who have dropped five straight, eight in a row at home and have the worst record in the majors at 28-53.
“You never want to have that at any time,” Houston manager Brad Mills said of his team’s skid at Minute Maid Park. “Home is the place where you want to get yourself right. Right now, we are going through a tough time. There’s no doubt about it.”
Neftali Feliz had a scoreless ninth for his 16th save.
Houston starter Brett Myers (3-7) allowed six hits and three runs in seven innings. He has given up a Major League-high 22 home runs, which are two more than he allowed last season.
Andres Blanco doubled after Kinsler’s fourth leadoff homer of the season and the 17th of his career. Adrian Beltre’s single to right field with one out scored Blanco to make it 2-0.
Kinsler’s second homer opened the third inning and landed in the Crawford Boxes in left field to make it 3-0.
Lee’s homer to left field that made it 3-1 came with one out in the seventh inning. Matt Downs doubled to the left field corner on the next pitch before Brett Wallace struck out. Clint Barmes’ single to shallow centre field scored Downs and got Houston within 3-2.
“It was just a situation where they took advantage of my misses,” Lewis said of the seventh inning. “They hadn’t in previous innings and in that inning they kind of caught up to me.”
Carlos Corporan’s double to right field chased Lewis. He was replaced by Darren Oliver, who retired pinch hitter Jason Michaels to escape the jam.
Washington said it wasn’t a difficult decision to pull Lewis when he did.
“He had come too far for me to let him throw one more pitch up there and let one of those guys come through with a base hit and there’s the game, we’re behind,” Washington said. “I felt like Colby didn’t deserve that, so I went to the bullpen.”
The Rangers’ offence cooled off after the first few innings and Houston retired 15 straight after Lewis hit his first career double to start the fifth inning.
Lewis pitched a two-hitter for the first complete game of his career last June in a 5-1 win over the Astros at Minute Maid Park. It looked as if he might be headed for another one before his seventh-inning breakdown after he yielded just two hits — both singles — and had thrown just 58 pitches through six.
Lewis sailed through the first three innings and didn’t allow a hit until Hunter Pence singled to right field with two outs in the fourth inning. He retired the next six in a row before Michael Bourn singled with two outs in the sixth inning, but Jeff Keppinger’s pop fly ended the inning.
Bourn singled with no outs in the eighth inning, but was caught stealing. Oliver retired Keppinger before Mark Lowe struck out Pence to send it to the ninth.
Lee walked in the ninth inning, but was caught stealing on a strikeout by Wallace to end the game.
NOTES: Texas SS Elvis Andrus missed his fourth straight game after leaving Friday’s game with a sprained left wrist. Washington said he’s OK, but he might give him another day off on Thursday. … Houston claimed OF Luis Durango off waivers from San Diego and optioned him to Triple-A Oklahoma City. The team transferred reliever Alberto Arias to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Durango on the 40-man roster. … RHP David Carpenter was recalled by the Astros from Oklahoma City and C Brian Esposito was optioned there.
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