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Castro leads Astros past Rangers

Jul 7, 2013 - 5:32 AM Arlington, TX (Sports Network) - Jason Castro validated his selection to the American League All-Star team by belting one of three Houston homers, a tie- breaking three-run shot in the seventh inning that lifted the Astros to a 9-5 triumph over the Texas Rangers.

Castro, the lone Astro chosen to the upcoming Midsummer Classic during Saturday's announcement, finished with two hits and two runs scored to lead his club to only its second win in nine games. Marc Krauss finished 3-for-4 with two RBI for Houston, which also received two-run blasts from Brandon Barnes and Jake Elmore.

The Astros reached All-Star Yu Darvish (8-4) for five runs in his six-plus innings of work, with the Japanese standout hung with the loss after Castro connected off reliever Robbie Ross.

Travis Blackley (1-0) was credited with the victory after tossing 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief, while starter Dallas Keuchel held the Rangers to a pair of runs over five-plus frames in a no-decision.

Texas had tied the contest at 4-4 on Geovany Soto's three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning. Nelson Cruz, another of the Rangers' three All- Star representatives, went 3-for-4 with a solo homer in defeat.

Castro stepped to the plate with two on and none out in the seventh and swung and missed at Ross' initial two offerings, but later worked the count full before sending a deep drive that cleared the fences to give Houston a 7-4 lead.

"It seems like every time I'm getting a guy 0-2 [in the count], all of a sudden it's 3-2," said Ross afterward. "It's just a little rut in the road, I guess. Hopefully I can overcome it and work my way back to feeling normal again."

Jose Altuve had drawn a walk to begin the inning and end Darvish's evening, with Ross coming on and hitting Brett Wallace with a pitch in front of Castro's shot.

Cruz pulled Texas within two by launching his 22nd homer of the season in the bottom of the seventh, but Elmore gave the Astros some breathing room with his first major league dinger, which followed a single by Matt Dominguez off Tanner Scheppers.

Darvish came one out away from throwing the second perfect game in Rangers' history during a matchup with the Astros in Houston back on April 2, and held Texas' AL West foes scoreless through the first three innings of this one until serving up Barnes' homer, which came with Krauss aboard and snapped a scoreless deadlock in the fourth.

Houston struck two more times an inning afterward, courtesy of Krauss' two-out single that followed a pair of walks issued by Darvish around a Castro base hit.

"We had to make an adjustment [against Darvish]," said Barnes. "He was getting us out early and quick, so we thought we'd try to run him up a little more and take away his slider a little bit, just attack his fastball, and it worked out for us."

Keuchel, meanwhile, stifled the Rangers' lineup for the majority of his stint. The lefty didn't permit more than one baserunner over any of the opening five innings, but surrendered back-to-back singles to Elvis Andrus and Cruz to start the bottom of the sixth and exited with a 4-0 advantage that the Houston bullpen failed to hold.

Texas eventually loaded the bases before Mitch Moreland drove in Andrus with a sacrifice fly. Soto then stepped up and blasted the second pitch he saw from Wesley Wright over the wall in left to even the score.

Game Notes

Closer Joe Nathan was the other Ranger named an All-Star, with Scheppers one of five relievers placed on the Final Vote ballot ... Cruz has now homered in four straight meetings between the teams, including Friday's 10-5 decision in the opener of this three-game set, and owns a 13-game hitting streak against the Astros ... The Rangers had won six consecutive matchups in the season series after losing in Houston on Opening Night ... The Astros are 24-17 this season when scoring four or more runs and 8-39 when they put up three or less.