After the Rangers took down the Astros 5-2 yesterday behind a dominant performance from Nathan Eovaldi, which included seven shutout innings, Texas looked to get a win on Sunday afternoon to take the series lead. 

Following that performance would be Rangers’ number five starter Andrew Heaney who was looking to bounce back after taking the loss in Texas’ 7-2 defeat vs Detriot on Monday. 

Bounceback is exactly what Andrew Heaney would do as he went five scoreless innings striking out eight while allowing just three hits and one walk. The Rangers lefty finished the day with 85 pitches which was an issue from the start after Jose Altuve battled a 14-pitch at-bat to begin the game. 

After the game, Heaney said:

“[I felt] good, you know, the last week just really trying to hammer home some mechanical stuff and felt much better today, still a few things to iron out, but definitely felt good.”

The Rangers’ offense got off to a hot start today as Texas put up a run in the first inning off a sac fly from Adolis Garcia, which scored Corey Seager to put the Rangers up 1-0. 

That one run would be the only run all the way until Nathaniel Lowe’s two-run home run in the bottom of the 8th. However, three runs would be all the Rangers got, and that was not enough to take home the win here this afternoon. 

With the Rangers leading 1-0 in the 6th, the Texas bullpen would have to piece together 12 outs in order to lock this one down. Unfortunately for the Rangers, before they could even get three, the Astros would tie the game off Grant Anderson after three straight hits led to an Astros run. 

Anderson did, however, do a nice job of keeping the game tied after getting two outs with runners on second and third to hold the Astros to one. 

The much anticipated Rangers debut of Aroldis Chapman came with the game tied at one in the 7th, and it was a good one. The new Texas flamethrower fired a scoreless 7th inning with two strikeouts.

After the game, Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said:

“Yeah, no, he [Chapman] was good, Wade, ain’t he? He really threw the ball well, a little hit there, but I think we saw what he is, big arm, tough competitor, and his debut, I thought, went really well.”

Josh Sborz had been really, really good lately, but that was not the case today. With two outs in the 8th inning and the bases loaded, Sborz gave up a two-out bases-clearing triple to untie the game and give the Astros a 4-1 lead. 

This morning, Nathaniel Lowe was the only Ranger who took batting practice on the field (which usually doesn’t happen on Sundays). He was receiving some intense instruction from hitting coaches Donnie Ecker and Tim Hyers.  That work paid off as in the 8th; Lowe sent a two-run shot to left center to cut the Astros lead down to 1.  

Heading to the bottom of the 9th, the Rangers trailed 5-3, looking for their first 9th-inning comeback win with Ezequiel Duran, Leody Taveras, and Mitch Garver coming to the plate. 

Unfortunately for the Rangers, the first 9th inning come-from-behind win would not come today as they fell at the hands of the Astros by a score of 5-3. 

The Astros were able to get several clutch hits when they needed them, and the Rangers’ struggles of performing late in games continued. 

When asked about the late-game struggles, Bochy said:

“That [Houston] is a tough bullpen, and you’ve gotta find a way; it looked like we were doing that, but their guys just shut us down.”

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