Practically everybody smothered the Astros last year as they finished with the worst record in baseball for the third consecutive year. Yu Darvish and the Rangers, however, took the biggest bites to push their Lone Star Series rivals to a franchise record 111 losses in 2013.

On Saturday night, however, the Astros provided further proof that they’re a much stronger team in 2014.

The young Astros are the ones stomping the Lone Star Series’ famous boot this season, as was the case again when they pummeled Darvish and the Rangers 8-3 before a crowd of 24,019 Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.

“It’s a huge step forward,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “These guys pretty much owned us last year.”

The Astros sent Darvish to the showers before he could record an out in the fifth inning. Only the Oakland A’s, who sit atop the AL West standings with the best record in baseball, knocked Darvish out quicker this season.

A year after going 2-17 against Texas, the Astros have won seven in a row against the Rangers to improve to 8-3 in the 2014 Lone Star Series.

“When you look at the way we played against them last year I think that, a man to a man, when we got ready to play them this year that’s something that ate at us because of the dominance with which they had against us last year,” Porter said. “At the same time we’ve played good baseball.