By: Blake Cole, Published August 6, 2015

The latest leg of the Lone Star Series has wrapped up, and the Texas Rangers have come out on top. By sweeping the Astros, the Rangers have cut their deficit to five games back from first place in the AL West. Here’s the series recap:

Game 1 featured an outstanding performance by the Texas Rangers. The most notable highlight being Adrian Beltre hitting for his third career cycle, a feat not accomplished since the 1930s. This makes him only the fourth player in MLB history to achieve three career cycles. Beltre had a two-run triple in the first, a double in the second, and a single in the third, and slammed a homer in the fifth to complete the cycle. Choo managed to send one out of the park, earning his 14th HR on the year. Colby Lewis secures the win, although he did allow seven runs over six innings. Astros rookie, and projected future star pitcher, McCullers never made it past the first inning, after facing nine batters, and giving up seven hits. Houston catcher Jason Castro hit a grand slam, keeping hopes alive for the Astros, however it wasn’t quit enough. Five Rangers in total had multiple RBIs in the 12-9 victory for Texas.

Game 2 featured Gallardo on the hill for Texas, coming into the game winless since June 27. He snapped his losing streak despite a mediocre performance, throwing 98 pitches in just five innings. The Astros led the game, until Prince Fielder finally put the Rangers into the mix in the fourth, with a solo shot that went all the way. The bullpen saved Texas, as Shawn Tolleson earned his 20th save of the season. Tolleson and the bullpen secured a Texas victory, even when allowing runners to advance to scoring positions twice in the ninth. Chris Giminez had two stolen bases on the night, on top of guiding Tolleson and the bullpen through several tough situations. DeShields, Odor, and Hamilton had the rest of the RBIs that secured the Rangers a victory, 4-3. This put Texas back to the .500 mark on the year.

The final game of the series featured Nick Martinez, on his 25th birthday, earning his second straight win. In five innings he allowed just one run and one hit. The offense acted quick, jumping to a four run lead after two innings. Astros starting pitcher Scott Kazmir had 14 2/3 shutout innings before taking the mound against Texas. He took the loss, dropping his record to 6-6. Ryan Strausborger (OF) made his Major League debut for the Rangers. He had a sacrifice bunt attempt in what would end up being a three-run first. He managed to reach first base safely after a wild throw to the bag. The Rangers almost miraculously pulled out the 4-3 victory, even though they unintentionally walked eight batters and hit one. Texas manager Jeff Banister said what all the fans were thinking when he was quoted: “Gutsy baseball. It wasn’t pretty. You don’t typically win when you walk eight and hit one.” Nevertheless, Texas pulled it off and secured the sweep.

Not only are the Rangers closer to winning the Silver Boot, but they close their gap to five games back, behind the AL West division-leading Astros. They’ll be looking for the Angels to fall out of second place before their next meeting in October. As for now, the Rangers get a day of rest before focusing on a six-game road trip that starts in Seattle, tomorrow night at 9:10pm CST.

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