Correa HR triggers 7-run 4th, Astros roll past Rangers 12-1

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Carlos Correa triggered a seven-run fourth inning with a three-run homer, replacement starter Luis Garcia took a shutout into the sixth, and the Houston Astros beat the Texas Rangers 12-1 on Thursday night.

The AL West-leading Astros stayed seven games in front of Oakland with 16 games remaining. They took three of four in their final series with the last-place Rangers.

Houston is headed home for three against Arizona, which has the worst record in the National League.

Alex Bregman had the first of his pair of two-run singles during Houston's big fourth. Yordan Alvarez lined an RBI double over leaping right fielder DJ Peters, and Yuli Gurriel's second single of the inning scored Bregman. Chas McCormick's 12th homer was a two-run shot in the eighth.

Garcia (11-7) started after left-hander Framber Valdez was scratched because of a cut on the index finger of his pitching hand. The injury happened when Valdez put his hand on the outfield wall during batting practice Wednesday at the year-old home of the Rangers.

Still considered a rookie in the 26th start of his second season, the 24-year-old Garcia allowed a run and five hits in 5 1/3 innings. The run scored on an groundout from Willie Calhoun, the first batter to face reliever Yimi García.

Texas rookie Glenn Otto, who pitched five scoreless innings against his hometown team in his major league debut last month, added three more before the 25-year-old right-hander allowed nine of 10 Houston batters to reach in the fourth and was replaced.

Correa's 23rd homer — and first surrendered by Otto in the majors — followed a leadoff single by Gurriel and Kyle Tucker's double. Otto struck out Jose Siri before walking the bases loaded for Bregman, who singled to left. Alvarez and Gurriel added their run-scoring hits before Tucker grounded into a double play.

Otto (0-2) allowed seven hits and seven runs in 3 1/3 innings, pushing his ERA to 9.37 despite the former Rice pitcher's impressive debut against the Astros.

KICKING BOOTY

The Astros had long since clinched a fifth consecutive “Silver Boot” trophy, which goes to the winner of the season series between the Lone Star State rivals. Now Houston has a franchise-best 14 victories over the Rangers, finishing with a 14-5 edge. The margin over the five seasons is 56-30.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Astros: Valdez cut the same finger he broke early in spring training when he was hit on the hand by a line drive from Francisco Lindor of the New York Mets. The 27-year-old missed the first two months of the season.

UP NEXT

Astros: No starter has been announced for Friday's opener against the Diamondbacks. Manager Dusty Baker said Valdez could be the choice.

Rangers: LHP Taylor Hearn (6-4, 3.99 ERA) is set for the opener of a three-game series at home against AL Central-leading Chicago. The White Sox swept three from the Rangers at home in the only other meeting in April.

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Schuyler Dixon, The Associated Press

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