The Astros have finally figured out how to beat their Texas nemesis, the scrappy Rangers of Arlington, who beat them 15 times last season.
The Astros whooped the Rangers 10-1 Wednesday evening at Minute Maid Park for their third straight win over their intrastate rivals. Dallas Keuchel is back to his Cy Young form. The Astros' rejuvenated lineup is hitting the cover off the ball — led by Marwin Gonzalez's eight home runs and the second-best team batting average in the American League. Oh, and the Astros have the best record in baseball.
On Wednesday, the Astros piled on 13 hits and took advantage of three errors by the Rangers. Gonzalez, whose bat has been red-hot, hit his fourth homer in five games. Josh Reddick, Carlos Correa and Brian McCann also went yard.
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Astros starter Charlie Morton had plenty of run support, but didn't need much. He allowed one run over six innings and got some help from his fielders, including this gem of a throw by Nori Aoki:
Houston's spring could not be more different from last year's, when the Astros limped through a 7-17 April. Playoff prognostications in May are a fool's errand, but the Astros have positioned themselves as the dominant club in the A.L.'s West Division. If they stay healthy and avoid long slumps, the Astros will be competitive the rest of the season.
The Astros return to Minute Maid Thursday evening to try for the sweep against the Rangers. Joe Musgrove will deal against Texas's A.J. Griffin.