Arlington, TX (Sports Network) – Pinch-hitter Matt Downs capped a four-run ninth inning with a tie-breaking two-run home run to lead the Houston Astros past the Texas Rangers, 5-3, in the finale of a three-game interleague set.
Carlos Lee and Chris Johnson had doubles while Jason Michaels added a pair of hits for the Astros, who snapped a three-game losing streak.
Mark Melancon (5-1) worked two innings of relief to pick up the win for Houston.
Neftali Feliz (0-1) gave up four runs on four hits to record his fourth blown save and absorb the loss for the Rangers.
Nelson Cruz crushed a homer while Michael Young added an RBI double for Texas.
After entering the ninth trailing 3-1, Houston battled back to take the lead, plating four runs against Feliz. Lee led off the inning with a bang, belting a double down the left field line and Johnson followed two batters later with a double to almost the exact same spot to score Lee. Michaels’ infield single put runners on the corners for pinch-hitter Downs, who clubbed a 3-1 fastball deep into the seats in left to give the Astros a 5-3 lead.
“We fight every night, no matter if we’re down five or we’re down one,” Downs said of his team’s resiliency. “We always put rallies up in the ninth, sometimes we do it, sometimes we fall short.”
Texas opened the scoring in its first at-bat. Ian Kinsler led off the inning with a sharp single to center, stole second, advanced to third on a Josh Hamilton groundout and scored on a wild pitch by Brett Myers to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.
The Rangers extended their lead to 2-0 in the fifth on Cruz’s lead-off blast to left, his 17th home run of the season.
Houston cut its deficit in half in the eighth. Pinch-hitter Angel Sanchez stroked a single to center and advanced to second on a wild pitch by reliever Dave Bush. Michael Bourn singled to put runners on the corners with no outs and Jason Bourgeois stepped up next, grounding into a 6-4-3 double-play to plate Sanchez.
Texas extended its lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the frame on an RBI double by Young.
“It stinks that we didn’t win,” Rangers starter Colby Lewis said. “The main thing is that we all show up to win. We had an opportunity and we let it slip away.”