remembers when Rangers Ballpark was being built and watching games there as a kid.
Now the Arlington native has the memory of a hitting a tiebreaking homer there against the
Pence hit the first pitch of the eighth inning over the center-field wall and the
beat the AL West-leading Rangers 5-3 on Thursday night to avoid a season sweep.
''Every time I play here, it's a little special because I have the memories of coming here as a boy,'' Pence said. ''It's
something special every time you play on this field for me.''
Especially winning the game
''I'm very excited for Hunter,'' manager
said. ''He got the big one for us. I'm sure he was a little down after the at-bat before. It was good to see him step up and
Pence struck out with the bases loaded in the sixth, but the Astros still scored twice that inning to tie the game. He hit
his 10th homer off
(2-2) in the eighth and
added a two-out RBI triple to make it 5-3.
After losing five in a row against AL West-leading Texas, the Astros avoided being swept in a season series of at least six
games for the first time in franchise history.
''There's no significance,'' Pence insisted. ''They've had our number, so it feels good to get a win.''
homered for the Rangers, who wrapped up a 4-5 homestand that trimmed their division lead to 1 1/2 games, the slimmest margin
since May 14. The
Los Angeles Angels
closed the gap with a six-game winning streak.
''You don't look behind you,'' manager
said. ''Everybody knew the Angels would put something together. We're focusing on our day to day.''
(1-0) struck out the only batter he faced before
pitched the eighth.
worked the ninth for his third save in five chances, the last out coming when Pence made a sliding catch of pinch-hitter
' sinking liner to right.
''It was a little scary, but fortunately I was able to get it,'' Pence said.
Houston tied it in the sixth when
hit an RBI single and
scored on a passed ball by
. Rangers starter
was done after that.
Padilla walked two in the sixth and failed to cover first on a ball hit to the right side of the infield that became a single.
The right-hander had allowed two earned runs over 12 innings while winning his two previous starts.
was behind the plate for the Astros one night after
broke the major league record with his 2,227th game at catcher. Quintero singled in
with two out in the fifth.
Like Rodriguez did on his record-setting night, Quintero made a run-scoring throwing error on a steal of third.
scrambled home in the fourth to give Texas a 3-0 lead.
Young homered in the first and Davis connected an inning later against
, who made his first start of the season.
Backe had made four relief appearances since returning May 28 from the disabled list after straining muscles in his left side
during spring training. The right-hander started in place of
, who was put on the 15-day disabled list this week with a left groin strain.
Despite allowing three runs in four innings, Backe's ERA dropped from 12.00 to 10.38. Cooper said Backe came out early because
of a blister on his right index finger.
, recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to take Hampton's roster spot, threw 2 2-3 scoreless innings before Arias struck out Teagarden
with a runner on second to end the seventh.
''He did a great job,'' Cooper said of Wright. ''We let the big boys close it out. We needed one of those.''
NOTES: The Rangers' last 12 homers have been solo shots, their longest such streak since September 1986. The last homer with
runners on base was
's three-run shot June 5 at Boston. ... Kinsler was 0 for 4, hitting into double plays his last three at-bats. ... Cooper
met with his team before the win to apologize for forgetting to congratulate Rodriguez after Wednesday's game. Houston lost
5-4 in 10 innings and Cooper was upset with how the team played. ... Lee, usually the Astros' LF, is still hampered by a bad
hamstring and was the DH the entire series. ... Houston had won a season-high five consecutive series before losing the first
two games to the Rangers.