But after being dominated in this ballpark for the last few seasons, they were happy to start the series this season on a good note.
Adolis García hit a two-run homer and Nathaniel Lowe had three RBIs in the Rangers' 6-2 victory.
The win comes after Houston went 29-5 at home against Texas since 2019.
“It's big,” Texas starter Martín Pérez said. “Especially from last year to this year we have a better team, we're pitching better, we make plays. And if we do that every night we're going to win a lot of games.”
García homered to make it 3-0 in the third and Lowe drove in two runs with a single in the fifth to extend the lead to 5-1.
Yordan Alvarez and Martín Maldonado hit solo home runs for the Astros, but they struggled to do much else offensively, going 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
It was the first game between the Rangers and Astros this season, renewing an old National League rivalry between Bruce Bochy, who is in his first season as the Texas manager, and Houston skipper Dusty Baker.
Friday was the 192nd regular-season meeting between Baker and Bochy. The pair, who both managed the Giants, are the two winningest active managers in MLB history with Baker ranking ninth with 2,099 wins and Bochy at No. 11 with 2,011.
Bochy collected the win Friday but needs plenty more to close the gap in their head-to-head series. Baker leads the regular season matchup between the two at 110-82, and the 110 losses are Bochy’s most to an opposing manager.
“It's always good to get the first win on the road, especially against such a good team like this," Bochy said. “We've had our battles and he had his way with us quite a few years... but we'll be facing each other quite a few times now.”
But Bochy got the best of Baker in their biggest postseason meeting. Baker’s Reds were up 2-0 in the 2012 National League Division Series before Bochy’s Giants won three straight on the road to advance and go on to win the World Series.
“You always know you've got to do your homework and be ready because you know that Bruce's teams are going to be ready,” Baker said. “He's been a formidable foe for a long time.”
Despite their long history of competition, the pair developed a close friendship off the field where they share everything from wine recommendations to the best fishing holes.
On Friday, Pérez (2-1) helped Bochy to the win with a solid start, allowing five hits and two runs in five-plus innings.
Houston’s Luis García (0-2) had his third tough start to open the season, yielding six hits and five runs with seven strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings to raise his ERA to 7.71.
“He's certainly much better than this,” Baker said. “So hopefully he'll be better next time.”
Marcus Semien drew a leadoff walk before Lowe put the Rangers up 1-0 with an RBI double with one out in the inning.
There were two outs in the third when Lowe walked. García then knocked his third homer of the season to left-center field to make it 3-0. It was initially ruled a double, but the play was reviewed and overturned.
Alvarez connected off Pérez with two outs in the third for his fourth home run this season to cut the lead to 3-1. It gave him 300 career RBIs, making him the 36th player in franchise history to reach the mark.
There were runners on second and third with one out in the fifth when Lowe singled on a line drive to left field to score them both and push the advantage to 5-1.
Maldonado launched his first homer this season to left-center with one out in the fifth to get the Astros within 3. Jake Meyers walked before a single by Alex Bregman. But Alvarez struck out before José Abreu lined out to end the threat.
Abreu went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts to end a streak of 13 straight games where he reached safely to open the season.
Josh Jung had a run-scoring single with two outs in the ninth to make it 6-2.
Astros: CF Chas McCormick left the game in the third inning with what the team called vision issues. Baker said he was having trouble seeing and was undergoing tests after the game. He was replaced by Meyers. ... 2B Jose Altuve, who has been out all season after fracturing his right thumb in the World Baseball Classic, had the large cast that covered his thumb and most of his forearm removed this week. He now has only a splint around his thumb and part of his hand as he continues his recovery. General manager Dana Brown said that Altuve could resume baseball activities in two months when he had surgery March 22.
The game was briefly delayed with two outs in the top of the ninth when a man ran onto the field and across most of the outfield before being tackled by a security guard and escorted away.
Houston RHP Hunter Brown (1-0, 3.09 ERA) opposes RHP Jon Gray (1-1, 3.00) when the series continues Saturday night.
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