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HOUSTON (AP) — Ian Desmond keeps coming up with big hits for the Texas Rangers.
Sunday was no different.
Desmond hit a tiebreaking single in the 11th inning and the Rangers got past Houston 5-3, beating the Astros for the 11th time in 13 meetings this season.
"For a guy like Desmond, who's had some challenges here lately but had been so big for us all year long in those type of situations to come up with the big hit for us was a great day for him," Texas manager Jeff Banister said.
Texas took two of three in the weekend series and extended its AL West lead to 7 1/2 games over the Astros.
"This is the type of game good teams need to win," Banister said. "This is a group of guys that are going to continue fighting. They're engaged. We came out on the top of it today. Things worked out for us today."
Houston went 2-5 on its and has lost eight of its last 10 games.
"Anytime I leave this podium after a loss I hate it," Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. "I don't care what team's on the other side, I don't care what division they're in, what league they're in and how the loss happened."
"Clearly games against the Rangers matter when they're ahead of us, they matter when they're behind us, they're in our division. So I'm not naive, I know that those games are going to be magnified. You get into August and we're in a playoff race, these games get a little heightened awareness," he said.
After Shin-Soo Choo led off the 11th with a double, Desmond followed with a single against Chris Devenski (0-4).
Desmond is tied for the major league lead with Houston's Carlos Correa with seven go-ahead RBIs in the seventh inning or later this season.
"I just want to make sure I feel good in those situations, and I have," Desmond said.
Rougned Odor later hit an RBI double.
"We were 5-for-21 with runners in scoring position," Banister said. "In those types of situations these guys are up there trying to put the best at-bat they can together. We got a little anxious in some of the at-bats and then hit some balls fairly well. We needed that big one and Desmond was able to come through."
Matt Bush (5-2) pitched the 10th, then struck out George Springer with runners on the corners in the 11th.
Texas starter Yu Darvish pitched seven shutout innings, striking out eight and giving up five hits.
Darvish said through a translator the outing was the best he has felt since coming off the 15-day disabled list July 16.
Alex Bregman hit an RBI double, and Jose Altuve followed with an RBI single off Jeremy Jeffress to cut the Rangers' lead to 3-2 in the eighth.
Tony Kemp tied it in the ninth with a single off Sam Dyson that scored pinch-runner Carlos Gomez, who slid around Jonathan Lucroy's tag.
Lucroy put the Rangers ahead with an RBI double in the fifth. Jurickson Profar hit a two-run double off Ken Giles to extend the lead to 3-0 in the eighth.
Kemp had three hits after coming on as a pinch-hitter in the eighth.
Joe Musgrove allowed one run on five hits in seven innings, striking out six in his first major league start. The right-hander threw 4 1/3 scoreless innings with eight strikeouts in relief in his debut Tuesday.
Rangers: OF Carlos Beltran was out of the lineup after leaving Saturday's game with a left quad contusion. He pinch-hit in the 10th and flied out to leave the bases loaded.
Astros: OF Colby Rasmus was put on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with a cyst in his right ear.
"It's been bothering him for a while," Hinch said. "Clearly, there are some things going on there that we need to look into further." Kemp was recalled from Triple-A Fresno. ... INF Luis Valbuena (right hamstring strain) is progressing slowly and hasn't done any baseball activities, Hinch said.
Rangers: LHP Cole Hamels (12-3) will start the first of a two-game series in Colorado on Monday. Hamels is second in the AL in ERA at 2.89 and has the lowest road ERA in the AL at 1.90 in 12 road starts.
Astros: RHP Collin McHugh (7-8) starts the first of four games in Minnesota on Monday. McHugh allowed a season-high three home runs in his last outing Wednesday against Toronto.
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