Jeff Mathis and Leody Taveras smacked back-to-back home runs in the seventh inning while Kyle Gibson produced his second scoreless outing against the Houston Astros in the Texas Rangers’ 6-1 victory on Saturday at Globe Life Field.
Mathis followed a leadoff single from Anderson Tejada and a four-pitch walk by Ronald Guzman with his third home run this season, a three-run blast that snapped a 1-1 deadlock and traveled an estimated 402 feet to left-center field. Mathis chased Astros rookie right-hander Brandon Bielak (3-3) before Taveras greeted another rookie right-hander, Andre Scrubb, with his 403-foot shot to right-center on the first pitch. For Taveras, the blast was his fourth of 2020.
The Astros (29-30) fell below .500 with one game remaining in the regular season. Houston clinched its fourth consecutive postseason berth and fifth in six seasons late Friday despite their extra-inning loss to the Rangers when the Los Angeles Angels fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Gibson worked six innings, allowing six hits and one walk with four strikeouts. In his previous appearance against the Astros, he twirled a four-hit shutout in the Rangers’ 1-0 win on Sept. 16. Gibson threw 81 pitches, including 55 for strikes, in his final start of the season for Texas (21-38).
Nick Solak gave Texas a 1-0 lead with an RBI single that scored Willie Calhoun in the sixth. Houston pulled even in the seventh on a Jack Mayfield sacrifice fly that plated Aledmys Diaz.
Astros right-hander Lance McCullers capped his first regular season in his return from Tommy John surgery with a flourish, allowing just two hits and two walks with a season-high nine strikeouts over four innings. McCullers did not surrender an earned run over his last three starts and 17 2/3 innings with seven hits and four walks allowed against 24 strikeouts during that stretch. Houston manager Dusty Baker announced earlier Saturday that McCullers will start Game 3 of the Astros’ American League Wild Card Series should that game be necessary.