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Bottom of Houston Astros’ order batters Rangers

May 14, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros catcher Martin Maldonado (15) celebrates as he rounds the bases after hitting a two run home run against the Texas Rangers in the fifth inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Tucker, Myles Straw and Martin Maldonado produced multi-hit, multi-RBI efforts from the bottom third of the lineup as the Houston Astros rolled to a 10-4 victory over the visiting Texas Rangers on Friday.

Tucker, Straw and Maldonado went a combined 6-for-10 with four runs, seven RBIs and two walks. All three played vital roles while the Astros clustered their runs in the second, third and fifth innings, with Maldonado hitting his second homer, a two-run shot, in the fifth.

Zack Greinke (3-1) rebounded from a stretch of substandard starts to earn the win with seven innings of the three-run ball.

Plate discipline propelled the Houston offense. The Astros recorded a season-high eight walks, three from Carlos Correa and two from Yuli Gurriel. Both walked and scored in the Astros’ three-run second inning, with Tucker and Straw delivering run-scoring singles prior to a Michael Brantley sacrifice fly that brought home Tucker.

Straw and Maldonado worked bases-loaded walks in the third inning as part of the Astros’ four-run frame. Maldonado drove Straw home with his long ball in the fifth. Straw had reached on a single to center on which Adolis Garcia committed a fielding error that enabled Correa to score from first.

Rangers left-hander Wes Benjamin (0-2), recalled from Triple-A Round Rock for just his second career start, lasted only 1 2/3 innings. He gave up three runs on three hits and three walks with two strikeouts.

Texas reliever Brett de Geus endured similar struggles, recording the final out of the second before surrendering three singles and issuing two walks in succession in the third. Maldonado produced his bases-loaded walk and homer against left-hander Hyeon-Jong Yang.

Greinke logged four innings in each of his previous three starts with an 8.25 ERA during that span. While he wasn’t particularly sharp Wednesday, Greinke benefitted from the early run support and wound up allowing seven hits and one walk while fanning five.

He allowed leadoff doubles to Isiah Kiner-Falefa in the third, Nick Solak in the fourth and Kiner-Falefa again in the seventh inning, with all three coming around to score. Greinke threw 103 pitches, 67 for strikes.

The Astros won their fourth game in a row while the Rangers dropped their fourth straight.

Texas, which has dropped 15 of its past 17 games in Houston, got two hits and two RBIs from Jose Trevino. Garcia hit a solo homer in the eighth inning.

–Field Level Media