ARLINGTON, Texas — Another long night for the Texas Rangers and their bullpen. And another loss closer to last place in the AL West.
Phil Irwin gave up two quick runs in his Texas debut, and got through only one batter in the fifth inning as the Rangers lost 8-3 to Houston Astros on Tuesday night. Texas has lost nine of its last 10 games — and 17 of 20.
“I think if we get the starting pitching to get us later in games, the bullpen will be more effective,” manager Ron Washington said. “If we straighten that out ... get deeper in games, less work for the bullpen, everything else will work out.”
A night after Miles Mikolas fell behind 6-0 and didn’t make it out of the fourth inning, the Rangers were in their bullpen early again against the Astros. The relievers allowed multiple runs for the sixth time in seven games.
All-Star right-hander Yu Darvish is expected to start as scheduled Wednesday night after a scare before Tuesday’s game. The Japanese ace was struck on the top of the head by a ball when throwing in the outfield while the Rangers took batting practice.
Darvish checked out OK when he was examined by team physician Dr. Keith Meister after finishing his throwing session. The Rangers said Darvish (8-4) would be re-evaluated before Wednesday’s game as a precaution, but he indicated in responding on Twitter to an article about the incident that he was “strong” and feeling good.
Chris Carter led off two innings with home runs for the Astros, and rookie George Springer had one inning-starting long ball. Brad Peacock (3-5) struck out five while allowing two runs and six hits over 5 2-3 innings.
The Astros go for a three-game series sweep Wednesday after winning only twice in 19 games against Texas all last season. They have won four straight overall against their instate rival for the first time since 2002.