The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Rangers have worst record in majors after Astros finish 3-game sweep with 8-4 win over Darvish
ARLINGTON, Texas - Yu Darvish and the slumping Texas Rangers have hit the bottom.
In all of Major League Baseball, not only the AL West.
Texas has the worst winning percentage in the big leagues after losing three straight games to the Houston Astros, who completed a series sweep with an 8-4 victory Wednesday night.
The Rangers lost for the 10th time in 11 games and have dropped 18 of 21 overall. At 38-53, their .418 winning percentage is just behind Arizona and Houston, both 39-54 for a .419 mark.
"It's been really tough. It's been frustrating," outfielder Alex Rios said. "We had a great team coming into the season, and you expect good things to happen. ... It's just a crazy season. This is a season that I believe that we're all going to remember in a bad way."
Darvish (8-5), who had thrown 20 consecutive scoreless innings while winning his last three home starts, gave up a season-high 10 hits and six runs. The All-Star right-hander struck out eight and needed 109 pitches to get through six innings.
"They had chances and cashed in," Darvish said through a translator. "'My command wasn't bad. I just didn't execute."
Against Houston at home in April, Darvish allowed one hit over eight scoreless innings. The Japanese ace also had two near no-hitters on the road against the Astros last season, one in which he retired the first 26 batters.
Robbie Grossman had a career-high four hits to snap an 0-for-28 slide with the Astros. Grossman and rookie George Springer both homered for Houston.
Springer also made an incredible running catch in the third inning. The centre fielder leaped on the warning track, reached over his head and held onto the ball when he slammed into the wall.
It is the first time in their two seasons since switching leagues that the Astros have not been in fifth place in the five-team AL West after mid-April. They moved just ahead of their in-state rival, which beat them 17 of 19 times last season.
"When you look at where we're at today, obviously we feel like we have improved as a ballclub," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "At the same time, when we get to the end of the year, we'll see where we're at. It definitely feels good to be playing good baseball right now."
Adrian Beltre extended his hitting streak to 13 games with an RBI single in the Texas first. The All-Star third baseman is batting .494 (38 for 77) in his last 20 home games, and is second in the AL at .336 overall.
Dallas Keuchel (9-5), one of five candidates in Internet balloting for the final spot on the AL All-Star team, allowed four runs and eight hits over 6 2-3 innings.
Carlos Corporan had a two-run double in the sixth to break a 4-all tie. An inning later, Springer hit his 19th homer, a two-run shot off reliever Jason Frasor.
Grossman's solo homer, about 329 feet into the right-field corner off Darvish, made it 4-all with two outs in the fifth. Grossman also had a double in the first inning and an RBI single in the third.
Houston took a 2-1 lead in the second by scoring twice with two outs. Corporan doubled before Enrique Hernandez tripled and came home on a wild pitch.
The Rangers loaded the bases with none out in the bottom half before Daniel Robertson's two-run double and a sacrifice fly by Shin-Soo Choo.
"The team is in a skid, but I'm telling you, they're playing," manager Ron Washington said. "We're not pitching very well. ... We just don't have a sustainable offence to support what's going on right now."
NOTES: Springer also made a running catch in the right-centre gap to end the third. ... Beltre was called out on strike three in the third when he stepped out of the box but wasn't granted time. When he came to bat in the sixth, Beltre had an animated conversation with plate umpire Bill Miller. ... INF Donnie Murphy, designated for assignment by the Rangers on Monday, rejected an outright assignment to Triple-A Round Rock and was placed on unconditional release waivers.
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