Alex Bregman delivered a bloop two-run single with the bases loaded in the seventh inning and the Houston Astros eked out a 4-1 win over the visiting Texas Rangers on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park.
Bregman plated George Springer and Jose Altuve with a flare that dropped in fair territory down the third-base line. It marked the first hit for the Astros (24-24) with runners in scoring position following an 0-for-6 start. Springer and Altuve worked walks against Rangers reliever Nick Goody (0-1) before Bregman delivered the key hit against right-hander Jonathan Hernandez.
The Astros improved to 13-2 over their last 15 home games and climbed back to .500 in the chase for second place in the American League West. Houston is 12-1 at home against Texas since the start of 2019. Texas (17-31) fell to 4-18 on the road, the fewest road wins in the majors.
Astros closer Ryan Pressly earned his 10th save to preserve the win for starter Jose Urquidy. Martin Maldonado socked his fifth home run with two outs in the eighth to provide insurance. Springer blasted a leadoff homer in the first against Rangers rookie right-hander Kyle Cody.
Urquidy (1-1) was exceptional. He needed only 38 pitches to complete one trip through the Texas order, recording just nine balls over his first three innings of work. He also retired the side in order in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings, with his lone spot of trouble coming in the fifth.
The Rangers strung together all three of their hits off Urquidy in that frame, with a bloop single to center from second baseman Rougned Odor pushing Nick Solak into scoring position after Solak reached on a sharp one-out single to left.
Ronald Guzman followed Odor with an awkward swing that resulted in a single to right that scored Solak and pulled Texas even at 1-1.
Urquidy had labored with his control in his first two starts of the season, issuing six walks over 9 2/3 innings. He was precise against Texas, recording 63 strikes in 90 pitches with seven strikeouts and no walks.
He relied mostly on his four-seam fastball, throwing 48 total, and pitched with an ease that belied his delayed start to the season due to COVID-19 complications.
--Field Level Media