By STEPHEN HAWKINS AP Baseball Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Joey Gallo grounded a hard single to right field between two diving infielders to drive in two runs and put the Texas Rangers ahead to stay in a 6-4 win over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.
The Rangers (3-2) are over .500 for the second time this season in manager Chris Woodward’s managerial debut. They never had a winning record at any point last year.
Rougned Odor started the seventh inning in a 4-4 game with a bunt single that was beyond the reach of lefty Framber Valdez (0-1) coming off the mound. Elvis Andrus had a double before Gallo pulled a hard one-out grounder that split between second baseman Jose Altuve and first baseman Yuli Gurriel.
Shawn Kelly (2-0) threw 1 1/3 innings in his third appearance for the Rangers. Jose Leclerc worked a perfect ninth for his second save.
Asdrubal Cabrera, the new Texas third baseman after Adrian Beltre retired this offseason, homered for the third time. Cabrera’s two-run shot in the second tied the game at 2 against Justin Verlander.
The Astros led 2-0 after a sacrifice fly in the second by George Springer, who led off the game with a single and had a stolen base before scoring on Michael Brantley’s groundout.
Verlander, Houston’s opening day starter, didn’t make it out of the fifth in his second start of the season. The right-hander allowed four runs, six hits and three walks — matching the total three batters walked by Astros pitchers over 42 innings in first five games.
Verlander was gone after back-to-back RBI singles by Andrus and Nomar Mazara put the Rangers up 4-3 with no outs in the fifth. The Astros got even on Carlos Correa’s RBI double in the sixth.
Texas native Shelby Miller allowed 10 baserunners (five hits and five walks) and two runs over 3 2/3 innings in his debut for the Rangers. The right-hander was limited to only nine games the past two seasons with Arizona because of Tommy John surgery in May 2017.
Astros: RHP Lance McCullers Jr. started a light throwing program, five months after Tommy John surgery. He made 25-30 throws on flat ground from about 45 feet while playing catch with manager AJ Hinch. McCullers, who won’t pitch this season, said he felt good.
Astros: Gerrit Cole (0-1), who struck out 10 batters in six innings while losing at Tampa Bay in his first start of the season, is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA in five career starts against Texas.
Rangers: Mike Minor (0-1) becomes the first Texas pitcher to make a second start, looking to bounce back after allowing six runs over 4 2/3 innings against the Chicago Cubs in his first-ever start on opening day.