The Rangers completed a four-game sweep of the Astros with an 8-2 victory tonight in Arlington. After entering the series down 1 1/2 games to the Astros in the American League West, the Rangers now lead the division by 2 1/2 games. What a turn of events.
The Rangers grabbed an early lead tonight when Mitch Moreland connected for a three-run homer off Lance McCullers in the third inning. The Astros fought back with two runs in the fourth inning, but the Rangers pulled away with two in the seventh and three in the eighth to put the game out of reach.
Colby Lewis allowed two runs over six innings in the victory. Shin-Soo Choo, who has been rejuvenated in the second half, went 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored.
The Rangers outscored the Astros 33-13 during the series. Tonight’s loss capped a nightmare road trip for the Astros, who went 2-8. They’ll head home now for nine games as they try to get back on track. The Astros currently have the second Wild Card spot in the American League.
The Rangers (79-67) have 16 games to play while the Astros (77-70) have 15 games remaining.
UPDATE: According to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, a CT scan revealed just a bruise. Nelson will remain in the hospital overnight for observation. Encouraging news.
9:14 p.m. ET: Scary moment tonight in Milwaukee, as Brewers right-hander Jimmy Nelson was hit in the right side of his head by a comebacker off the bat of Cardinals outfielder Tommy Pham in the top of the third inning. You can watch the play here.
Nelson was face-down on the ground for a moment before getting to his knees and eventually walking off the field with two team trainers. The exit velocity of the ball off the bat was 108 mph. Very scary. Pham was noticeably shaken up on the play.
According to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, Nelson is on his way to a local hospital for a CT scan. He’s said to be “lucid,” which is a good sign. Here’s hoping for the best.
UPDATE: The Pirates announced that Kang had surgery tonight for a displaced lateral tibial plateau fracture and also required a lateral meniscal repair. The estimated recovery time is 6-8 months, so he could miss the early part of the 2016 season.
7:18 p.m. ET: When Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang was injured on a takeout slide from Chris Coghlan in today’s game against the Cubs, it was easy to think the worst. Unfortunately for the Pirates, the worst-case scenario has been confirmed.
Dejan Kovacevic of DKPittsburghSports.com reports (via Bob Nightengale of USA Today) that Kang will miss the remainder of the season due to a fractured tibial plateau and a torn MCL in his left knee. The injury will require surgery.
The injury is obviously a brutal blow for the Pirates. Kang has had an excellent first season stateside, batting .287/.355/.461 with 15 home runs and 58 RBI over 126 games. He has also held his own defensively between shortstop and third base. Jordy Mercer will function as Pittsburgh’s regular shortstop the rest of the way.
As for the takeout slide from Coghlan, Kang issued the following statement through his agent: