HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Astros opened the season by scoring eight runs.
They haven’t been able to hit much of anything since.
A day after Yu Darvish came within one out of a perfect game, Alexi Ogando and four Texas relievers shut out the Astros again, combining for a five-hitter in the Rangers’ 4-0 win over Houston on Wednesday.
It’s the most strikeouts a pitching staff has combined for in the first three games of a season in major league history, and the most since Cleveland fanned 42 in the first three of the 1966 season.
The Rangers are also the fourth team in major league history since 1916 to start the season by striking out 10 or more batters in each of their first three games.
Carlos Pena, one of Houston’s only veterans, said it’s important not to make too much of what happened in the last two games.
“Just a couple of rough games. You just leave it at that,” he said. “They pitched well. We weren’t facing easy ... pitchers. These guys are good. It’s no secret they have a pretty good pitching staff.”
Lance Berkman doubled in a run for the Rangers a day after they blanked Houston 7-0 behind Darvish’s nearly historic gem.
“Yesterday, it was more about their guy, and today it was more about our guys,” Houston manager Bo Porter said of the strikeouts. “We just had our guys expanding the zone way too often. We need to make an adjustment and do a better job. The fastballs that we had an opportunity to do something with, we either fouled them off or didn’t get them (in play).”
Ogando (1-0) allowed four hits with a career-high 10 strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings. The young and inexperienced Astros have struck out 43 times in their first three games.