Needed or not, the Texas Rangers will likely showcase their newest acquisition Saturday.
Alex Rios is expected to make his debut for the Rangers as they seek their 11th win in 12 games and ninth in 11 tries against the Astros on Saturday night.
"For myself, I'm going to go to a team that's fighting for first place and I think that's going to be refreshing," Rios said. "They're trying to win the division and go to the playoffs, so let's see what happens."
The Rangers (66-50) have thrived since Nelson Cruz 's suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, tallying 32 runs and 47 hits in winning all four games without him. They have won five straight overall and are one percentage point behind Oakland for the AL West lead.
Still, without Cruz - who leads Texas with 27 home runs and 76 RBIs - the Rangers likely needed another bat. Rios, who the Rangers acquired from the White Sox for a player to be named later or cash, is batting .277 with 12 home runs, 55 RBIs and 26 stolen bases."What it does is just add to what the dynamic already is here," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I don't think the void that Nelson left can be filled. (Rios) is a solid baseball player and we just want him to come in and play his game. He fits in well, extremely well."
He'll join Adrian Beltre , who is hitting .455 with three home runs in Texas' last 11 games.
The Astros (37-77), who have lost 16 of 20, are struggling to fix a sputtering bullpen. Their relievers - who were reached for six runs and five hits with five walks in Friday's 9-5 loss, have blown eight of 10 save opportunities since the All-Star break while compiling a 7.89 ERA in those 20 games.
Holland (9-6, 3.02 ERA) turned in his best outing since a two-hit shutout over the New York Yankees on June 27, scattering four hits over eight innings in a 4-0 victory over Oakland. He did not allow a runner past second base, retiring 14 of 15 batters during one stretch.
"That's the best I've seen Holland pitch in quite a while," Athletics manager Bob Melvin said. "The inside zone was there for him, which made the changeup really tough to deal with."
The left-hander, who struck out 10, is tied for sixth in the American League with 145.
Holland's counterpart, Brad Peacock (1-4, 7.25), is also coming off a 10-strikeout performance. He had a successful return to the majors on Sunday, allowing three runs and four hits in a career-high seven innings of a 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins .
"He was able to keep guys on their toes," catcher Jason Castro said. "Obviously the strikeouts showed his stuff's definitely there. It's good to see. I was happy for him."
Peacock has shuttled between Houston and Triple-A Oklahoma City. He posted an 8.44 ERA in five starts for the Astros to begin the year and didn't earn another one until being recalled last weekend.
"He didn't do anything to hurt his chances, for sure," manager Bo Porter said. "When you come out and give that kind of performance, it definitely helps your chances of staying in the rotation."
One remnant of his previous struggles remained, however, as all three runs scored on two home runs. Peacock has allowed 10 homers in 36 innings this season.
|August 03, 2013||Nelson Cruz||Day-to-Day||Lower body|
|July 12, 2013||Justin Grimm||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right forearm|
|July 07, 2013||Yu Darvish||15-Day DL||Upper back strain|
|July 07, 2013||Yu Darvish||15-Day DL||Upper back strain|
|July 07, 2013||Lance Berkman||15-Day DL||Left hip inflammation|
|July 06, 2013||Nick Tepesch||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|August 07, 2013||Jonathan Villar||Day-to-Day||Left game - sprained hand|
|July 31, 2013||Brandon Barnes||Day-to-Day||Lower back tightness|
|July 27, 2013||Jose Altuve||Day-to-Day||Left quad tightness|
|July 27, 2013||J.D. Martinez||15-Day DL||Sprained left wrist|
|July 23, 2013||Brandon Barnes||Day-to-Day||Left game - mild left calf strain|
|July 09, 2013||Ronny Cedeno||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised left toe|
HOUSTON (AP) -- The Texas Rangers talked before their game Saturday about how they didn't need new right fielder Alex Rios to be their savior as he takes over for suspended slugger Nelson Cruz .
Rios ended saving his new team anyway in his debut.
Rios tied the game with an RBI triple in the eighth inning and scored the go-ahead run to help the Rangers to a 5-4 comeback victory over the Houston Astros .
"I came here to try to contribute in any way possible and take advantage of everything that I'm given," said Rios, who fills the hole left when Cruz was suspended for 50 games in the Biogenesis investigation. "Tonight was a good game. We came up with some big hits."
One of the biggest was a two-run homer by Elvis Andrus as the Rangers extended their winning streak to a season-high six games.
Rios, who was acquired from the Chicago White Sox on Friday, tripled off reliever Lucas Harrell (5-13) in the eighth inning to tie it after a double by A.J. Pierzynski. Rios then slid feet first into home on a ball hit by Mitch Moreland , scoring when catcher Jason Castro dropped the ball in the collision for an error to put Texas up 5-4.
"We had a contact play on and he ran down the line like a train," manager Ron Washington said. "Castro caught that ball and when he came around he knocked it out of his glove and that was the winning run. He can do some things out there on the ball field and that's all we want him to do, is just play the game the way he can play."
The Rangers trailed by two in the seventh before the Astros' bullpen failed them again, with Kevin Chapman allowing Andrus' first home run this season to tie it at 3.
The Astros regained the lead when Brandon Barnes scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of that inning.
Pierzynski hit a solo home run in the sixth inning.
Texas starter Derek Holland allowed six hits and three runs in six innings. Jason Frasor (3-2) allowed one run in the seventh for the win and Joe Nathan threw a scoreless ninth for his 34th save.
Chris Carter had two hits, including his 20th homer, and Castro added a pair of hits to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. Carter is the first Astros player to hit 20 homers since 2010, when both Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence reached the mark.
It was the first multihit game since July 3 for Carter, who has been in a monthlong slump.
Jurickson Profar reached on an error by Jake Elmore to start the seventh inning. Chapman retired the next two batters before Andrus sent an 82 mph slider into the Crawford Boxes in left field and flipped his bat as he left the plate.
"I always say if a guy hits 30 or 40, it doesn't look good," Andrus said of the bat flip. "I don't really hit too many. I have to enjoy it because I don't know when I'll hit my next one."
Andrus was greeted by his enthusiastic teammates who jumped up and down, patted his head and gave him high-fives as he entered the dugout.
The shot ended a 557 at-bat homerless streak for Andrus. He shook off a tough night where he struck out on his first three at-bats with his first homer since Sept. 4.
Houston manager Bo Porter was more upset with the error by Elmore than the homer Chapman gave up to Andrus.
"When you give a team extra outs, especially a team that has a good offensive team like the Texas Rangers , you put yourself at more risk to give up runs," Porter said.
Barnes was at third in the seventh inning when a pitch by Frasor bounced in the dirt, off Pierzynski's arm and toward the Rangers dugout, allowing Barnes to easily trot home to make it 4-3.
Houston took a 1-0 lead on an RBI double by Jose Altuve in the third inning.
Carter's no-doubter, which landed on the train tracks atop left field, pushed Houston's lead to 2-0 in the fourth inning.
Leonys Martin walked to start the fifth before Andrus struck out for the third time. He had a few angry words with home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi before Cuzzi finally lifted his mask and told Andrus to get off the field.
Pierzynski launched his homer into the second deck in right field with one out in the sixth inning to get Texas within 2-1.
Houston got the run back in the bottom of that inning when Matt Dominguez hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded to make it 3-1.
Starter Brad Peacock yielded three hits and a run in six innings for the Astros.
NOTES: Texas LHP Matt Harrison , the team's opening day starter before two operations on a herniated disk in his lower back, left a rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Round Rock with numbness in his throwing hand. Harrison is returning to Arlington to visit a doctor about the problem and Washington said he didn't have a report on his condition yet. Washington wasn't sure how to respond to the setback. "I don't know," he said. "Many things have happened to us this year, and it's another one we have to get past."... Houston LHP Travis Blackley , who was designated for assignment on Thursday, has been outrighted to Triple A Oklahoma City. He has three days to accept the assignment or become a free agent. ... Houston SS Jonathan Villar was out of the lineup for a third straight game with a sprained left thumb. He pinch-ran in the eighth inning. ... The series continues on Sunday when Texas left-hander Martin Perez opposes Dallas Keuchel .