ARLINGTON, Texas Two-time Sacramento Bee Player of the Year Max Stassi had two singles for the Houston Astros on Tuesday night in his major-league debut, but it wasn't enough to prevent a 4-2 loss to the Texas Rangers.
Stassi, a former Yuba City High School star, was the designated hitter after being called up from Double-A Corpus Christi, where he was batting .277 with 17 home runs and 60 RBIs in 76 games. The Astros put catcher Carlos Corporan on the seven-day concussion disabled list after he got hit by a foul tip on the mask the previous night, opening the door for Stassi.
After striking out in his first at-bat, Stassi singled twice. He didn't have much time to celebrate his first major-league hit in the fifth.
As he ran to second base on Brandon Barnes' ground ball, Stassi saw reliever Jason Frasor throw toward shortstop Elvis Andrus. The high throw sailed past Andrus, but Stassi didn't notice, and Ian Kinsler tagged him out after he left the base.
"That was a mental mistake," Stassi said. "That never happened in my career, and it never will again. I lost track of the ball."
Stassi was a fourth-round draft choice by the A's in 2009. He was traded to Houston in February as part of the deal that sent Chris Carter and right-handed pitcher Brad Peacock to the Astros.
Stassi is the only area player to make The Bee's All-Metro first team four years.
During his four varsity seasons at Yuba City, Stassi batted .514 with 40 home runs and 162 RBIs.
Houston's Jarred Cosart pitched six effective innings, but the rookie yielded a two-run homer to Adrian Beltre in the sixth inning, and that was the difference in the ballgame.
"I thought command-wise, it was my best game of the year," Cosart said. "I had command of two pitches, fastball and curve, and didn't have to use my changeup. They couldn't sit on one pitch."
As for the pitch Beltre hit for his 26th homer? "That pitch was at his head," Cosart said. "It wasn't even a strike."
Beltre also doubled and scored in the second for the American League West-leading Rangers, who moved 20 games over .500 for the first time this season.
Cosart bit down on his glove as Beltre's line drive headed over the wall. It was the first homer he's allowed in his 45 big- league innings.
"I was hoping it wouldn't go out," he said. "It was only 360 feet, but there's that jet stream to right field here. He put a good swing on it, and hit a home run. That's what good hitters do."
It was the 160th hit of the season for Beltre, one short of Miguel Cabrera for the major-league lead.
"The only way I can really describe it, he's the MVP. He's having an MVP-caliber season," Kinsler said. "He's one of the best players in the league on one of the best teams, and he does it night in and night out."
Beltre is hitting .434 (33 of 76) over his last 21 games, raising his season average 19 points to .326, third in the A.L.