Houston sent a strong message to Texas, with historical nuance
ARLINGTON — Less than 24 hours after the Yankees’ home run, the Astros had to face what is, by far, the most important series of the season on Monday, on the road against their in-state rivals, the Rangers. From Texas. For the World Series champions, not even a 3-0 deficit heading into the fifth inning was enough to sink them, as they exploded for five home runs and 13 runs — a total of 16 hits — To beat the Rangers at Globe Life Field in Arlington.
With their 13-6 victory over Texas, the Sidereals tied the Mariners (whom they defeated in Cincinnati) for first place in the American League West. And by the way, they sent a strong message in this particular series.
Venezuelan veteran José Altuve commented about that day, in the presence of 39,181 fans, saying: “It is a match in which you can feel the atmosphere of the qualifiers from the first half.” “Facing Rangers, who had been close to first place for most of the season, we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. But we needed a game like this.”
Houston’s victory also had historical connotations. Honduran Mauricio Dupon and Altuve combined twice to hit back-to-back home runs, part of a game that included a total of nine home runs between the two teams — the most in the history of Globe Life Field, which opened in 2020, as well as the four between the two teams. Dubón and Altuve, Dominican Yaner Diaz scored for the Astros, while Corey Seager scored twice for the Rangers, as well as Mitch Garver and Josh Smith.
“Guys did a good job today,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. They played well today.”
This three-game Monday-Wednesday series has been noted for several weeks as one of the most important games in the American League at this time of year. With the Astros, Mariners and Rangers fighting for the top spot in the AL West, the stakes are high. By securing the special series against Texas at 7-4 on the year with a win on Monday, Houston secured the Silver Boot and any tiebreaker with its in-state neighbors.
The crowd even included a large contingent of Astros fans, since Houston’s Minute Maid Park is only 257 miles from Globe Life Field, a drive that takes about three hours and 45 minutes.
“We love seeing the Houston fans on the road,” Baker said. “We see them everywhere, but here they became closer and the support was felt. It’s like it’s 50/50 (Astros-Rangers).”
Altuve added in this regard: “I have always said that the Houston fans are the best for me in the major leagues. They always support us, no matter where we are. They come and want to see their team play. “For us, it’s a huge honor to come out and play with them.”
In both the sixth and ninth innings, ninth baseman Dupont and leadoff hitter Altuve went to the street, respectively. This is only the second time in Astros history that the same duo has accomplished the feat twice in the same game, the first being in 2005 by two of the club’s legends, Craig Biggio and Lance Berkman.
“Actually, I didn’t go looking for them,” said Dupont, whose putts from the four corners were 393 and 378 feet, respectively, to accompany Altuve’s 429 and 420. “I went looking for a pitch to hit it hard and it ended up coming out. Count it out and make a good swing and it ended up with the ball. It feels pretty good.”
“I’m not surprised; I know the talent I have, the ability I can do,” the versatile player continued after his first career match with two home team players. “It’s just a matter of chance. I think it’s the most important game of the year and to be able to do that is unbelievable.
Houston’s win on Monday was important to erase the bad aftertaste of the sweep against the Yankees and, obviously, in the standings, where the Rangers are now one game behind the Mariners and Astros. But there are still two more games in this series, and nearly a month of the regular season. Nothing is specified.
“There are more games coming in one day,” Dupont said. “I think that’s what we do here. ‘One day at a time and see what happens tomorrow.’