ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Brad Miller and the Texas Rangers didn’t have to hit the ball too hard or very far in a winning rally.
“That was fun, that was just good baseball,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said about their three-run eighth inning.
Miller grounded an RBI single with an exit velocity of 66 mph the opposite way through a wide-open hole on the left side of the drawn-in infield for the go-ahead run, and Texas beat the AL West-leading Houston Astros 5-3 Monday night for its third consecutive victory. The Rangers also had a couple of stolen bases and two productive groundball outs.
“The way the whole inning played out, that is exactly the way you draw it up,” Woodward said. “We don’t always have to hit a homer, we don’t always have to hit an extra-base hit, or slug. … Miller hit a backside single where the shift isn’t.”
Jonah Heim greeted reliever Héctor Neris (1-3) with a single to open the eighth before pinch-runner Charlie Culberson stole second base and advanced on Nathaniel Lowe’s groundout to the right side. Ezequiel Durán drove Culberson home with a tying single grounded through the middle, then the rookie third baseman had his first career stolen base and went to third on a wild pitch before Miller’s hit.
“What did I do? I hit a dinker,” Milller said while being doused by teammates as he did a postgame television interview on the field.
“They found the hole and stole some bases on us,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “That’s a tough one to lose right there.”
Corey Seager had two hits to snap a 3-for-35 slump before his RBI groundout in the eighth sent home the final run for the Rangers (29-31). They are alone in second place in the division, but 7 1/2 games behind the Astros, who have lost four of five.
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