The Rangers offense has been sputtering of late. On Sunday they scored just three runs, their fewest run total since May 27.
And they hadn’t enjoyed a three-run first inning since Saturday.
Needless to say, Texas’s offense was due.
But sometimes you need help. And in the first inning, the Astros were like the welcome wagon. After Profar led off with a triple, Desmond grounded out to first base.
Except for one thing.
Houston didn’t get the out.
Astros first baseman Marwin Gonzalez forgot to throw home. And Astros pitcher Mike Fiers forgot to cover first. And Profar scored the first run of the game.
Then, with Desmond on third, Fiers unleashed a wild pitch to make it 2-0.
And after Gonzalez forgot to touch first on an easy Odor ground out, the Rangers had runners at first and third.
It was up to recently unplugged Prince Fielder. Like he has done so many times this season, at least twice, he kept the inning alive with a single up the middle to score a run.
And the Rangers had another three-run first.
The rest of the game didn’t come easily, or pretty, for either team. It was a game of missed opportunities and gifts, but the Rangers prevailed, winning 6-5 in walk-off fashion, for their seventh win in a row against the Astros, in spite of committing three errors.
But who could blame either team for their sloppy play?
The pressure of the Silver Boot overwhelmed both teams. Understandably. The Silver Boot is the single most coveted trophy in all of sports. Legends are born. Fortunes are made. Yawns are produced.
And, now that the Rangers have won the first seven games of the season against the Astros, if they can somehow win just three of the remaining twelve contests between the two Texas teams, the Silver Boot comes to Arlington for another year.
Just as soon as someone remembers where they misplaced the stupid thing.
Dallas Keuchel (3-7, 5.50) vs. Cole Hamels (5-1, 3.39)
Game time: 7:05 pm
How the Astros hit against Hamels.
How the Rangers hit against Keuchel.