Jose Abreu matched his career high of seven RBIs with a grand slam and a three-run homer and the Houston Astros slugged five homers while completing a three-game sweep of the Texas Rangers with a 12-3 victory on Wednesday night at Arlington, Texas.
Yordan Alvarez, Michael Brantley and Chas McCormick also slammed homers as Houston again assaulted Texas pitching. The Astros slugged 16 homers and collected 50 hits in the series while outscoring Texas 39-10.
Justin Verlander (11-7) gave up two runs, one earned, and four hits over seven innings while improving to 5-2 in seven starts since the Astros reacquired him from the New York Mets.
The veteran right-hander struck out six and walked one while helping Houston (80-61) maintain a one-game lead over the Seattle Mariners in the American League West. The Rangers (76-63) fell three games back.
Verlander outpitched former Detroit Tigers and New York Mets teammate Max Scherzer in a battle of three-time Cy Young Award winners.
Scherzer (12-6) was rocked for seven runs and six hits in three innings while falling to 3-2 since the Rangers acquired him from the Mets. He struck out four and walked two.
Marcus Semien went 4-for-4 two homers and three RBIs for Texas, which lost for the 15th time in 19 games and fell a half-game behind the Toronto Blue for the third AL wild-card spot.
Rangers star right fielder Adolis Garcia departed the contest in the top of the second inning due to right knee discomfort.
Houston smashed five homers on Monday and six on Tuesday, then got the Wednesday power show started in the first when Alvarez hit a two-run homer to center, his 25th of the season.
In the bottom of the inning, Semien hit Verlander’s first pitch over the wall in left.
Brantley’s homer, his second of the season, made it 3-1 in the second.
Houston loaded the bases on a single and two walks in the third before Abreu ripped a 1-1 slider from Scherzer over the left-center-field wall, a 425-foot shot that increased the lead to 7-1. It was Abreu’s fifth career grand slam.
Brantley’s sacrifice fly in the fifth pushed the Houston lead to seven. Semien had an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth and belted a solo homer to left in the eighth, his 22nd of the season.
Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker singled to start the ninth before Abreu lined a shot off Brock Burke that barely cleared the wall down the left field line. It was his 14th homer of the season. McCormick followed with his 20th homer, a blast to center.
–Field Level Media