ARLINGTON, Texas — Alex Bregman had a homer and a triple when he stepped to the plate as the potential go-ahead run after Houston trailed by seven just two innings earlier.
The rookie popped out and the Astros went on to another loss to the Texas Rangers, a 10-8 defeat Friday night that dropped second-place Houston 9 1/2 games back in the AL West.
“A lot of guys had good at-bats to fight to get us back in the game,” said Bregman, who had a two-run triple before pinch-hitter Tyler White’s two-run double gave the Astros a chance late. “Had an opportunity to tie it and didn’t come through.”
Rougned Odor homered for the third straight game in a seven-run fourth inning and Carlos Gomez had two hits in his first game against his former team as the Rangers won their sixth straight.
Houston lost the first of 13 straight games against division leaders to start September, six of those against Texas. The Rangers are 12-2 against their in-state rivals this season and have won 20 of the past 24 meetings.
“We’ve still got another month, man,” shortstop Elvis Andrus said. “As bad as it’s going to sound, you don’t want to smell it yet. You want to keep pushing and keep creating space.”
Odor’s team-leading 28th home run was one of three in the fourth inning against Doug Fister (12-10), who came out after Jonathan Lucroy followed Odor’s shot to right with a line drive just over the 14-foot wall in left for a 9-2 lead.
The 22-year-old has four homers in three games — the first three in the last two games of a sweep of Seattle that essentially ended the Mariners’ hopes in the division race.
Bregman, who had a solo homer in the first, popped out to Odor against reliever Keone Kela with two on to end the eighth. The Texas bullpen gave up five runs — four earned — on four hits with three walks in less than two innings.
“It was definitely a tale of a couple different games,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. “Our guys aren’t going to fold up and call it a game. But just not enough.”
Gomez, dumped by the Astros early last month barely a year after they acquired the underperforming two-time All-Star, reached in his first three plate appearances on a double, single and walk and scored three runs.
A.J. Griffin (7-3) improved to 5-0 in his career against Houston, allowing three hits and three runs in 5 2/3 innings. Sam Dyson pitched a perfect ninth for his 31st save.
Fister allowed season highs in hits (10), runs (eight) and earned runs (seven).
AL Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel, whose regular turn was Friday, is getting pushed back to Tuesday in Cleveland to get the left-hander extra rest. Rather than go day to day, Hinch said he wanted to keep the other starters in their routines. Right-handers Joe Musgrove and Collin McHugh will pitch the final two games of the Texas series, followed by Mike Fiers in the series opener at the Indians.
Astros: 1B Marwin Gonzalez was day to day after leaving the previous game with discomfort in his right hamstring. A similar problem sidelined him for several games a month ago.
Astros: Musgrove (2-2, 4.36 ERA) allowed one run in seven innings against Texas in his first big league start Aug. 7, five days after his debut in relief. He’s been in the rotation since then.
Rangers: LHP Derek Holland (6-6, 4.68) is 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA in two starts since returning from a stint on the 60-day disabled list because of left shoulder inflammation.