HOUSTON -- Jose Altuve leads the majors in hits and is 11 away from 200 for the season.
He insists he's not counting."If you're thinking hits, you're not paying attention to wins," Altuve said Sunday after leading the Houston Astros past the Texas Rangers 3-2.Altuve matched his career high with four hits, including two doubles. His single with two outs in the eighth inning drove in the go-ahead run.Matt Dominguez hit a tying home run off reliever Neal Cotts (2-8) with one out in the eighth to make it 2-all. Jake Marisnick was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on Altuve's single."He's the kind of guy you want to have in that situation," Dominguez said. "It seems he gets three hits a game."Dominguez had an RBI single earlier in the game. The Astros won a series for the first time since Aug. 19-21 at Yankee Stadium.Jose Veras (3-1) got the win and Chad Qualls posted his 16th save.Dallas Keuchel went seven innings for the Astros, allowing two runs and five hits. He struck out three and walked two."Each and every time this guy goes to the mound we feel pretty good about our chances as a team to win the ballgame," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "Today was no different."Alex Rios doubled and singled for Texas, driving in a run and scoring run. His RBI single in the sixth scored Daniel Robertson to put Texas ahead 2-1.Rios doubled and scored on Ryan Rua's grounder in the first inning."My only concern when I go out there and play is to limit the other team to (fewer) runs that what we score," Keuchel said. "In the month of August I really didn't do my job. I'm just thankful we got the win today."Texas rookie Nick Martinez pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up one run and six hits. He struck out four and walked three."I told him he did his job when he came off the field," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "It was up to the bullpen to finish it off. We had the two best we've got in there and we just didn't do it."Porter praised his team for coming up with clutch runs late in the game. Keuchel said that's the difference between this year's team and last season's squad."This is team is a year older, a year wiser and we're not where we want to be yet, but we're getting there," Keuchel said. "Whether we are crawling or inching, we're going to fight. That's really the big difference."That, and they have players like Altuve on their side."He's been unreal all year," Dominguez said.FINDING HIS GROOVEDominguez's 2-for-4, 2-RBI outing was a much-needed boost for the third baseman."He's been in a funk, and he's been working hard," Porter said. "He got a pitch that he could handle and put a really good swing on that ball."Dominguez, whose eight-inning homer was the first at Minute Maid Park since late July, said the extra work is paying off."I'm feeling a little bit more confident at the plate," he said.ROTATION WOESThe Rangers are keeping a close eye on RHP Miles Mikolas as they decide on the fifth spot of the rotation."Let's see how Mikolas is," Washington said. "If we feel we need to miss him another start we can always fill it with (Scott) Baker. Robbie (Ross Jr.) is in the mix, but we'll see where it goes."Mikolas was scratched from Saturday's start with shoulder fatigue. Texas plans to start RHP Colby Lewis, LHP Derek Holland and RHP Nick Tepesch at Kansas City.TRAINER'S ROOMRangers: Whether RHP Yu Darvish (right elbow) can return to the mound this season remains unclear. "I don't know," Washington said. "Waiting until Dr. (Keith) Meister tells him he can pick up a baseball to make a decision." Darvish was placed on the 15-day DL Aug. 13, retroactive to Aug. 10.Astros: INF Marwin Gonzalez was kept out of the lineup one day after being scratched with discomfort in his right hamstring. Gregorio Petit started at SS.UP NEXTRangers: Lewis (9-11) looks to build on his previous outing -- his second complete game of the season, snapping a three-game losing streak -- when he starts Monday night at Kansas City.Astros: After an off-day, Houston starts RHP Brad Peacock (3-8) on Tuesday night at home against the Los Angeles Angels. He is looking for his first win since July 8.
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HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 31: Nick Martinez #22 of the Texas Rangers throws in the first inning against the Houston...