The Texas Rangers and Houston Astros began the Silver Boot Lone Star Series on Friday night in Arlington, Texas.
This game was all about the big innings. The two teams combined to score multiple runs in six different innings, highlighted by the Astros' five-run fifth and the Rangers' six-run eighth.
The Rangers jumped on the scoreboard early. In the first inning with two outs, David Murphy collected an RBI single and Brandon Boggs followed with a RBI double.
The Astros got two runs back in the next half-inning when Darin Erstad doubled in Carlos Lee. An infield groundout by Michael Bourn scored Erstad.
The Rangers tacked on another run in the third when Josh Hamilton (pictured above) led off the inning with his ninth home run of the season. He deposited a Shawn Chacon pitch into the Rangers' bullpen.
Leading 4-2 going into the bottom of the fourth, the Rangers would double their score. Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit his first home run of the season into the right field, upper home run porch.
Later in the inning, Hamilton recorded his 10th homer of the season, a line shot to right off the upper home run porch, scoring three runs.
But in the fifth inning, the Astros would claw their way back into the game. Three infield singles, before the first gave the Astros two more runs, and then a RBI double from Miguel Tejada and two-RBI single from Lee brought Houston to within two runs.
Erstad then doubled down the left field line scoring Berkman. Lee tried to tie the game but was thrown out at the plate.
Houston would get their tying run in the next inning, Kaz Matsui singled to center scoring Bourn. However, that would be all the runs the Astros would get across.
The Rangers threatened in the sixth with the bases loaded and two outs, Chris Shelton laced a ball into right field, but a superb catch from Fort Worth native, Hunter Pence, preserved the tie.
In the seventh, the Rangers grabbed the lead for good. Michael Young singles to right field and Ian Kinsler scored the eventual winning run from second base. The throw from right-fielder Pence beat Kinsler home, but Astro catcher J.R. Towles placed his glove on home plate with the left corner of the plate still uncovered. In perfect position, home plate umpire Angel Campos made the correct call, much to the disagreement of Astro skipper Cecil Cooper, who was eventually ejected.
On the next pitch, Hamilton recorded his fifth hit of the game with an RBI triple down the right-field line.
After a quick eighth inning from Joaquin Benoit, the Rangers went into the bottom of the inning with a 10-8 lead and C.J. Wilson warming up for the ninth.
C.J. would warm up, take a seat and enjoy the Rangers six-run outburst. Murphy and Shelton started the scoring with back-to-back home runs.
The Rangers continued the scoring with Kinsler's triple that scored Saltalamacchia, followed by a two-run homer from Young. The Rangers finished their onslaught when Murphy singled in Hamilton.
Top Ranger players included Hamilton (5-5, 2 home runs, a triple, 4 runs, and 5 RBI), Murphy (3-6, home run, 2 runs, and 3 RBI) and Young (2-6, home run, 3 runs, and 3 RBI).
A fifth-inning single extended Lance Berkman's hitting streak to 15 games. With the three home runs in the eighth inning, reliever Oscar Villarreal has now allowed 10 home runs in only 22.1 innings pitched.
The Rangers and Astros continue their series Saturday night at 6:05, central time zone. On the mound for Texas is Vicente Padilla, and Houston goes with ace Roy Oswalt.