ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Jordan Lyles made it through the first inning unscathed, just like he wanted.
He finished strong, too, getting a strikeout with runners on the corners to protect a one-run lead.
But then the Houston Astros' prized prospect turned the ball over to the bullpen. And what looked like what might be his first career victory turned into another disappointing loss in a season full of them, this time going down 5-4 to the Texas Rangers in 11 innings.
``He did a great job,' Astros manager Brad Mills said. ``Seven solid innings. ... He kept coming at the hitters. He battled and kept his pitch count down and gave us a chance to win the game.'
Lyles left with Houston ahead 4-3. Josh Hamilton tied it in the bottom of the eighth off Lyles' replacement, then Enerio Del Rosario (0-2) served up the final blast to Mitch Moreland leading off the 11th.
Lyles, who at 20 is the youngest player in the majors, allowed three runs and seven hits and struck out six in seven innings. Two of the runs came on solo homers, to Michael Young and Nelson Cruz.
``I stayed away from crooked numbers,' Lyles said. ``I gave some up (homer) with no one on base so that was good on the positive side. ... In my other starts they put up some runs early. I didn't want to go out there and feel my way through it. I wanted to carry it from the bullpen and attack from strike one on.'
Moreland's homer was especially timely not just because of the score, but because a harsh storm was approaching. Heavy winds blew debris across the field by the time Moreland crossed home plate and before he was even out of the shower, sheets of rain slapped across the field. Had the game not ended when it did, it could have been quite a long night, or a suspended game to be resumed Wednesday.
It was the first game-ending hit of Moreland's blossoming career. Japanese reliever Yoshinori Tateyama (1-0) earned the first victory of his career. The Rangers also were glad to find a way to win on a night when ace C.J. Wilson lacked his best stuff, and the offense relied mostly on solo homers.
Moreland's blast was his 10th of the year and his second long homer in as many games.
``My ultimate goal was to try to get on base and get something started, and I was able to end it all on one swing,' said Moreland, who couldn't remember having hit another game-ending homer in pro ball.
Hamilton went 2 for 5, keeping up his incredible success in interleague play. Over his last 17 games against the National League, not counting the World Series, he is 36 for 75 (.480 average) with six homers and 21 RBIs.
The Astros, still without leading slugger Hunter Pence (elbow), lost their third straight game. Houston has dropped six of eight, 10 of 13 and 14 of 18.
The top of Houston's lineup did all it could to pull this one out, as Jason Bourgeois, Michael Bourn and Jeff Keppinger combined for nine of the club's 12 hits. Each had three, with Bourn and Keppinger both driving in two runs.
``There were a lot of good things to come out of it, but you saw how it ended,' Mills said.
Sergio Escalona - likely in to face only Hamilton - gave up the tying homer on his fourth pitch as Hamilton swatted it an estimated 401 feet into the seats in right.
Escalona hadn't allowed a run in 13 games, spanning 7 2-3 innings, and had never given up a homer in 35 previous career appearances. Lefties were batting only .162 against him over his career. It was Houston's 15th blown save, most in the majors.
Wilson allowed a season-high 11 hits and four runs in 6 2-3 innings. He struck out four.
``He was fighting the whole time he was out there,' manager Ron Washington said.
Tateyama pitched one scoreless inning, walking one. It was his first career walk, coming on the 58th batter he faced in the majors.
Del Rosario gave up one run and two hits over 2 1-3 innings, with three strikeouts.
NOTES: Houston last got three hits from each of its top three hitters on Sept. 5, 2000. That trio was Julio Lugo, Bill Spiers and Jeff Bagwell. ... Houston is 1-7 against Texas over the last two years. ... This was the longest game between these teams since the inaugural meeting, June 7, 2001, which was won by Houston in 11 innings. ... Houston has lost five of six to Texas, dating to last year. ... At the end of the sixth inning, all 33,533 fans were asked to put on the sunglasses they were given upon entering as part of a promotion seeking to set a world record for most people wearing sunglasses in the dark. A big cheer went up when team president Nolan Ryan and former President George W. Bush were shown wearing their shades. An authenticator from the Guinness Book of World Records was on hand to verify the feat.
The Associated Press News Service
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