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Rangers, Astros combine for 19 runs

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HOUSTON (AP) - The Houston Astros have hit five homers and scored a total of 14 runs in their last two games.

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The offensive outburst hasn't led any wins, though, because of the continued struggles of their pitching staff.

Adrian Beltre's three-run homer was one of his four hits, and David Murphy and Leonys Martin also homered as the Texas Rangers completed a three-game sweep by romping past the Astros 12-7 on Sunday.

The Rangers jumped on starter Jordan Lyles (1-1) for 11 hits and a career-high eight runs in four innings. He also balked home a run.

``I wasn't throwing the ball over the plate,'' Lyles said. ``I was missing by a little bit and missing by a lot, they hit me around pretty good, then I walked some guys, and they hit me around some more. The loss is definitely on my shoulders, and I've got to do a better job of competing.''

Lyles was replaced by Edgar Gonzalez, signed by the Astros earlier in the day. He didn't fare much better, allowing six hits and four runs in four innings.

The loss came a day after reliever Philip Humber gave up five runs while getting just two outs in an 8-7 loss to the Rangers. Humber was later cut from the team, making room for Gonzalez.

Houston's pitchers have the worst combined ERA in the majors at 5.79, a full run higher than the Blue Jays, who rank 29th.

Chris Carter hit a three-run homer for Houston, Brandon Barnes added a two-run shot and Jason Castro had a solo homer. The Astros have dropped 10 of 12.

``When you're down 10 runs late in the game, you just try to score a run here and there to do what you can,'' Carter said. ``We scored six, but it wasn't enough.''

At 10-28, the Astros are off to their worst 38-game start, according to STATS, breaking their 12-26 mark from 1967 and 1975.

``Any time you get beat, it's disappointing,'' Barnes said. ``You want to win every game. We try our hardest ... we fight, we keep grinding, but in the end, we fall short.''

The Rangers set a season high for runs, and did it quickly. Martin led off the fifth with a home run and Beltre connected later in the inning for a 12-1 lead.

Houston manager Bo Porter said the 22-year-old Lyles has to find a way to limit big innings.

``Veteran pitchers are able to get into those types of innings, and instead of giving up five or six runs, they find a way to give up two or three,'' Porter said. ``It's about making a quality pitch when you absolutely need it and graduating to that next level.''

Beltre doubled twice and drove in four runs. He homered for the second straight day, hitting a drive that was originally called a double and changed to a homer after the umpires went to video review. Beltre connected off Gonzalez.

Murphy's two-run homer came in a four-run third. Beltre hit an RBI double as the Rangers added three in the fourth, and Texas broke it open in the fifth. Rookie Leury Garcia made the most of a rare start for the Rangers, collecting three hits, scoring four times - both career-highs - and driving in a run.

Nick Tepesch (3-3) rebounded from two rough starts to allow four hits and one run in six innings, striking out a career-high eight.

Lance Berkman extended his hitting streak at Minute Maid Park to 18 games with an RBI double in the first inning to make it 1-0.

Garcia singled to start the third, stole second base and advanced to third on an error by catcher Castro. Garcia scored on a groundout by Berkman.

Beltre doubled and scored on a one-out single by Craig Gentry in the third. Murphy then launched a 91 mph fastball into the seats in right field to extend the lead to 5-0.

Carlos Pena singled with one out in the first inning, and the Astros didn't get another hit until Castro's homer with two outs in the fourth inning made it 8-1.

Martin opened the fifth with a towering homer to right field before back-to-back singles by Andrus and Garcia. Beltre connected on his homer and feel to his knee at the end of the swing before hustling to his feet. It was initially ruled a double, but a video review showed the ball hit on the center field wall above the yellow line and it was changed.

Castro had an RBI single in the eighth before Carter hit his team-leading ninth homer to the Crawford Boxes in left field off Derek Lowe to cut the lead to 12-5.

Barnes got Houston within 12-7 with a two-run homer in the ninth.

NOTES: Bud Norris pitches for Houston when the Astros open a three-game series at Detroit against Anibal Sanchez on Monday. ... The Rangers travel to Oakland where Texas RHP Justin Grimm opposes A.J. Griffin. ... Houston designated Humber for assignment on Sunday and signed Gonzalez. ... The Astros struck out 12 times, giving them a big league-leading total of 381.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
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