HOUSTON — The Houston Astros lost All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve, then dropped yet another game to AL West-leading Texas.
Altuve was hurt in a collision with rookie shortstop Carlos Correa as they chased a popup, and exited early in a 6-2 defeat Friday night. Houston lost its eighth in a row to the Rangers and fell 4 ½ games behind them with only eight left.
"I felt a little dizzy at first, but now I feel good," Altuve said.
Manager A.J. Hinch said Altuve didn't have a concussion and hoped to play on Saturday.
"His whole face was sore," Hinch said.
The Astros have lost three in a row and are 7-15 in September. Their lead for the second AL wild-card spot was cut to just a half-game over the Los Angeles Angels.
"We have to find a way to do better," Hinch said. "Our guys are working, they are trying and prepared and doing everything they can, it's just that the results are not there for us right now, and it has piled up for us."
Altuve and Correa were tracking a popup by Elvis Andrus with two outs in the seventh. Altuve had the ball in his glove for a moment before Correa crashed into him.
Correa's arm hit Altuve in the face and knocked him to the ground as the ball shook loose.
Altuve grimaced as he remained on the field for a couple of minutes while trainers attended to him before eventually walking off the field, his face and neck aching.
"You get scared because he is one of our best players," Correa said. "When he said he was dizzy, I was like, 'Oh my.' But then we see that he is fine, and he is ready for tomorrow."
Shin-Soo Choo homered and drove in three runs as the Rangers improved to 16-7 this month.
Texas starter Yovani Gallardo allowed eight hits and two runs in 4 2-3 innings and Ross Ohlendorf (3-0) pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings for the win.
Scott Kazmir (7-11) yielded 10 hits and six runs, lasting just 3 2-3 innings for the second straight game. He hasn't won since Aug. 22, a span of six straight starts.
"We are team that is confident in what we can do," Kazmir said. "We have to take care of business, and it starts tomorrow."
Choo, who had three hits, put Texas up 3-0 with an RBI single in a two-run second. He added a two-run homer in the fourth.
Luis Valbuena hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning for the Astros, who have dropped eight of 11. Houston went 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position.
"This is pennant race baseball, and it's a big boy business," Hinch said. "We are tough enough to overcome this as a group. Whether we do that or not will be sorted out over the next week. I believe in our guys. I think they have the toughness to do that."
Astros: OF Carlos Gomez (intercostal strain) missed his 12th straight game. He hoped to return on Saturday, but Hinch isn't sure if he'll be ready. Gomez could be used as a defensive replacement or a pinch runner before he's healthy enough to get back in the lineup. ... Correa was in the lineup on Friday despite fighting a cold.
Texas manager Jeff Banister went to high school in La Marque, Texas, which is about a 45-minute drive from Minute Maid Park. He played some football games at the Astrodome when he was in high school and figured out a way to sneak in to the building to see the Astros play back then. "I paid my $2.50 to park and I found my way in through the loading dock because I didn't have anything past $2.50 and had to get enough gas in the car to get back home," he said. "Hopefully they don't ask me for a refund."
Banister loves that the two teams in Texas are the leaders in the division.
"As a kid who grew up in this city ... I'm just as proud of them as I am as us really just for the fact that I'd rather it be us two fighting it out," Banister said. "I'm still a fan, too, you know deep down."
Rangers LHP Derek Holland (3-3, 4.75) opposes Collin McHugh (17-7, 3.93) when the series continues on Saturday. Holland looks to get back on track after going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in his last three starts, a stretch that has raised his ERA from 2.37 to 4.75.