Joey Gallo delivered a two-out, two-strike RBI double in the ninth inning to support the first career shutout by veteran right-hander Kyle Gibson in the Texas Rangers' 1-0 victory over the Houston Astros on Wednesday at Minute Maid Park.
Gallo deposited a curveball from Astros closer Ryan Pressly (1-3) into right field, with the ball bouncing into the seats down the first-base line. Leody Taveras, who reached on a sharp grounder that Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel misplayed into a hit, scored on the Gallo hit.
Texas (18-31) recorded just its fifth road win this season. The Rangers had lost 10 of 11, going back to 2019, to Houston (24-25).
Gibson (2-5) reversed course from what had been a difficult stretch. Winless over his previous five starts with an 0-3 mark plus an 8.10 ERA that ballooned his ERA to the second-highest qualifying mark in the majors at 6.14, Gibson was masterful after wobbling in the first inning following a leadoff single by George Springer and walks to Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman.
Gibson benefitted from the throwing arm of catcher Jeff Mathis twice, with Mathis erasing Springer as he tried to swipe second base in the first. Mathis did the same to Kyle Tucker after Tucker reached on a one-out single in the seventh.
Gibson got Tucker on a called third strike to close the first, and prior to the Tucker hit in the seventh Gibson allowed just one baserunner while retiring the Astros in order in the second, fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
Gibson got Tucker to line out to first baseman Ronald Guzman after allowing a two-out double to Bregman in the ninth to cap his 114-pitch gem. It marked his third career complete game.
Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. matched his season high with seven innings, pitching exceptionally in his return from the 10-day injured list with neck nerve irritation. McCullers failed to log an out in his previous appearance against the Los Angeles Angels on Sept. 4, but he had no such issues against the Rangers, allowing only a pair of doubles while recording eight strikeouts.
McCullers threw 61 of 86 pitches for strikes and did not walk a batter. The doubles he allowed, to Rougned Odor in the second inning and Taveres in the sixth came with two outs. He relied on a balanced usage of knuckle curveballs and sinkers, throwing 40 breaking balls plus 39 fastballs and recorded 28 called strikes to lower his ERA at Minute Maid Park to 1.42 over five starts.
--Field Level Media