Taveras career-high 5 RBIs, Rangers beat Astros 8-4 in 10

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HOUSTON — Leody Taveras drove in a career-high five runs, including a bases-clearing double as part of a five-run 10th inning as the Texas Rangers beat the Houston Astros 8-4 on Wednesday night.

Marcus Semien hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly off Phil Maton (0-2) to put Texas ahead 4-3 in the 10th and Corey Seager followed with an RBI single.

The Rangers loaded the bases again on a single by Adolis Garcia, and two batters later, Taveras cleared them with a drive into the right-center gap.

“I think just his calmness, his ability to kind of like, `OK, I am going to navigate my way through these at bats every single game.’ I’m proud of him,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said. “He has come a long way in a short amount of time, and he’s proven to us that I can’t take him out of the lineup.”

Taveras also had a sacrifice fly in the sixth and an RBI triple in the fourth off Justin Verlander.

“I was not trying to do too much,” Taveras said of his approach against Verlander. “He’s a really good pitcher, and I was just trying to put the ball in play.”

Taylor Hearn (5-6) pitched a perfect ninth for the win.

Verlander yielded three runs on five hits with seven strikeouts in six innings. He leads the majors with 15 wins and a 1.85 ERA.

The three runs were the most Verlander had allowed since surrendering seven in a loss to the White Sox on June 18, snapping a streak of seven straight starts giving up two runs or fewer.

“I think I made some good pitches,” Verlander said. “A couple things just didn’t go my way, and that’s OK. That’s baseball. I thought the stuff was actually pretty sharp. I thought my slider was pretty good. A lot of positives to take away from it. Obviously, not the type of boxscore I would like to have, but I was able to grind through six.”

Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez each hit solo home runs for the AL West-leading Astros. Tucker hit an RBI single in the 10th. Houston finished 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

“I thought we did have some opportunities,” said Houston bench coach Joe Espada, who managed the team with manager Dusty Baker out after testing positive for COVID-19 last week. “I didn’t think it would come back to haunt us, but those opportunities once you get them, you want to capitalize.”

Texas starter Glenn Otto allowed two runs on four hits with five strikeouts in five innings.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rangers: RHP Spencer Howard was placed on the 15-day injured list retroactive to Monday with right shoulder impingement. LHP John King was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock.

Astros: RHP Lance McCullers Jr., who has been on the injured list since the start of the season with a right forearm strain, is set to make his first start of the season on Saturday against Oakland. . OF Michael Brantley, who has been on the injured list since June 27, will get a second opinion on his injured right shoulder.

CLIMBING THE RANKS

Verlander broke a tie with Mets ace Max Scherzer – for now – for 14th on the all-time strikeout list and now has 3,147 in his career. Pedro Martinez is 13th with 3,154 strikeouts.

LITTLE LEAGUERS IN THE HOUSE

Pearland Little League, which won the Southwest Regional and advanced to the Little League World Series, was in attendance for the game. The team went down to the field pregame for autographs from Astros players and were shown on the big screen during the game.

UP NEXT

The Astros will send LHP Framber Valdez (10-4, 2.87 ERA) to the mound Thursday in the series finale opposite LHP Cole Ragans (0-0, 0.00 ERA), who will be making his second career start.

Yankees star Judge hits 62nd homer to break Maris’ AL record

New York Yankees v Texas Rangers - Game Two
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ARLINGTON, Texas – Aaron Judge hit his 62nd home run of the season Tuesday night, breaking Roger Maris’ American League record and setting what some fans consider baseball’s “clean” standard.

The 30-year-old Yankees slugger drove a 1-1 slider from Texas right-hander Jesus Tinoco into the first couple of rows of seats in left field when leading off the second game of New York’s day-night doubleheader.

Maris’ 61 for the Yankees in 1961 had been exceeded six times previously, but all were tainted by the stench of steroids. Mark McGwire hit 70 for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year. Barry Bonds hit an MLB-record 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001, and the Chicago Cubs’ Sammy Sosa had 66, 65 and 63 during a four-season span starting in 1998.

McGwire admitted using banned steroids, while Bonds and Sosa denied knowingly using performing-enhancing drugs. Major League Baseball started testing with penalties for PEDs in 2004, and some fans – perhaps many – until now have considered Maris as holder of the legitimate record.

A Ruthian figure with a smile as outsized as his body, the 6-foot-7 Judge has rocked the major leagues with a series of deep drives that hearken to the sepia tone movie reels of his legendary pinstriped predecessors.

“He should be revered for being the actual single-season home run champ,” Roger Maris Jr. said Wednesday night after his father’s mark was matched by Judge. “I think baseball needs to look at the records and I think baseball should do something.”

Judge had homered only once in the past 13 games, and that was when he hit No. 61 last Wednesday in Toronto. The doubleheader nightcap in Texas was his 55th game in row played since Aug. 5.

After a single in five at-bats in the first game Tuesday, Judge was 3 for 17 with five walks and a hit by pitch since moving past the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927, which had stood as the major league record for 34 years. Maris hit his 61st off Boston’s Tracy Stallard at old Yankee Stadium on Oct. 1, 1961.

Judge has a chance to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012. He leads the AL with 131 RBIs and began the day trailing Minnesota’s Luis Arraez, who was hitting .315.

The home run in his first at-bat put him back to .311, where he had started the day before dropping a point in the opener.

Judge’s accomplishment will cause endless debate.

“To me, the holder of the record for home runs in a season is Roger Maris,” author George Will said earlier this month. “There’s no hint of suspicion that we’re seeing better baseball than better chemistry in the case of Judge. He’s clean. He’s not doing something that forces other players to jeopardize their health.”