HOUSTON (AP) Adolis García hit a grand slam to highlight a seven-run fifth inning and the AL West-leading Texas Rangers slugged four homers in a 13-5 win over the Houston Astros in a tense game Wednesday night.
Following his grand slam, García and Marcus Semien exchanged words with Martín Maldonado. That led to the benches and bullpens emptying. No punches were thrown in the scrum around home plate, but Maldonado and Semien were ejected.
“After I scored on Adolis’ grand slam, I told (Maldonado), ‘I told you we were going to win this game,’ and all of sudden, their bench is out there and both of us are out of the game,” Semien said. “I didn’t want to get thrown out of the game. I just was talking to him.”
Maldonado said he was told he was ejected for starting the benches clearing situation.
“Two guys competing against each other and exchanging words,” Maldonado said of what led to the benches clearing. “Two teams that want to win. It’s something that happens between the lines.”
Tempers were hot earlier in the game. Both benches were warned in the third inning after Houston’s Framber Valdez hit Semien in the left shoulder with the first pitch of his at-bat. The Rangers’ Andrew Heaney had hit Yordan Alvarez in the right shoulder with a pitch in the first inning.
“Obviously, Andrew did not try to hit Yordan, and I got hit with a four-seam fastball from a sinkerballer,” Semien said. “I felt like it was on purpose. I walked to first base. I ended up scoring on the home run, and I told Martín, ‘We’re going to win this game.’ We proceeded to score 11 runs after that. I said ‘I told you,’ and I ended up out of the game.”
Semien, Nathaniel Lowe and Sam Huff also homered for Texas, which avoided a three-game sweep and held on to its two-game lead over the Astros in the division.
“Not just to win today, but how we won,” Texas manager Bruce Bochy said. “To get down, how we responded after Marcus got drilled. You’re talking about karma at its finest, I really think that was the case because there’s no way Andrew’s trying to hit somebody. He’s ahead in the count, and we’re trying to get him out of the first inning.”
Lowe hit a two-run homer in the third.
Texas got to Valdez (8-7) for four more runs in the fourth. Leody Taveras had a two-run single and Semien hit a two-run homer. Maldonado appeared to exchange words with Semien, who held his finger to his mouth, following the home run.
Huff hit a solo home run to begin the fifth.
Semien had three hits, and Lowe and Taveras each had two hits and three RBIs.
Heaney (7-6) allowed three runs on four hits in five innings.
Valdez allowed a season-high six runs on eight hits in a season-low 3 2/3 innings. The 29-year-old left-hander has allowed at least four runs in three straight starts.
“He couldn’t get his breaking ball over and his fastball was up and away in the zone,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said. “He just couldn’t get the ball down.”
Alex Bregman hit a three-run homer in the first, and Yainer Diaz hit a two-run homer in the ninth for Houston.
Jose Altuve and Alvarez returned to the Astros’ lineup. Altuve, who had been out since July 4 with a left oblique strain, went 0 for 3. Alvarez, who missed 39 games with a right oblique injury, went 1 for 2 with a double.
Rangers: C Jonah Heim exited in the fourth inning with left wrist soreness after taking an awkward swing.
Astros: RHP José Urquidy (right shoulder) is expected to increase his workload following his third rehab start on Tuesday, Baker said. Urquidy threw four scoreless innings for Double-A Corpus Christi Tuesday. He threw 53 pitches. … INF Bligh Madris and INF David Hensley were optioned to Triple-A Sugar Land to make room on the roster for Altuve and Alvarez.
Rangers: After a day off on Thursday, Texas RHP Dane Dunning (8-3, 3.18 ERA) will start Friday in San Diego opposite Padres RHP Joe Musgrove (9-3, 3.25 ERA) in the first game of a three-game series.
Astros: Following an off day on Thursday, Houston RHP Cristian Javier (7-2, 4.32 ERA) will take the mound Friday opposite Tampa Bay LHP Shane McClanahan (11-1, 2.89 ERA) as the Astros open a three-game series at home against the Rays.
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