Houston Astros at Texas Rangers
- The Astros beat the Angels, 7-5, on Sunday and are now 4-2 in their first six games of this current nine-game road trip. Including twice over the weekend, Houston has scored at least seven runs 20 times in 2013 and is 16-4 in those contests.
- Texas dropped a 4-3 decision to Seattle yesterday and has now alternated wins and losses in each of its last six games overall (WLWLWL). The Rangers are 15-4 (.789) in their last 19 games -- best of any American League club since July 29.
- Including a 5-1 mark at home, the Rangers have taken 11 of 13 meetings from the Astros this season. Dating to the beginning of 2009, Texas has won 12 consecutive series against Houston (30-7 record overall).
- Lucas Harrell has come out of the bullpen in his last four appearances and will be making his first start since July 30 (at Baltimore) tonight. Harrell is 1-3 with a 6.10 ERA in four career starts against the Rangers.
- Matt Garza is 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA in five starts since joining the Rangers on July 22 (8-2 with a 3.40 ERA in 16 starts overall in 2013). Garza has defeated the Astros in each of his last three starts, posting a 3.10 ERA in those outings.
- Adrian Beltre is batting .437 with 12 multi-hit performances in his last 19 games -- tied for the most multi-hit games in the majors since July 29. Beltre is 20-for-44 (.455) with four homers and 10 RBI in his last 11 games against the Astros.
- Mariners give Cano 10-year, $240M deal
- Beltran, Yanks agree on $45M for 3 years
- Napoli, Red Sox agree to 2 years, $32M
- Granderson, Mets agree to $60M, 4 years
- RHP Kuroda returning to Yankees
By JONAH ROSENBLUM
(AP) -- Derek Holland will take aim at Rick Helling's mark once again.
The left-hander seeks to become the first pitcher to record double-digit wins for the Rangers in three consecutive seasons since Helling did so from 1998-2001 when Texas hosts the Houston Astros on Wednesday night.
Holland (9-6, 2.95 ERA) held the opposition scoreless for the second time in three starts Friday, limiting Seattle to two hits in seven innings before leaving without a decision in a 3-1 loss.
The Astros, who reached the left-hander for three runs in six innings on August 10, are the only team to score off Holland over his last three starts. He has allowed three-plus runs in all four of his starts against the Astros, posting a 5.25 ERA in those games.
Holland's third attempt at 10 wins could be fueled by a clutch Texas offense. The Rangers (73-53), leading the AL West by a game and a half, have won 17 of 21 behind a lineup that is batting .304 with runners in scoring position during that span.
"Every game means something from here on out," Holland told the team's official website. "We're in a close race with Oakland. We need to gain ground and win as many games as we can."
Adrian Beltre, who belted the go-ahead two-run homer in Texas' 4-2 victory Tuesday, is batting .373 against Houston this season, with 11 of his 22 hits going for extra bases.
"This is what I'm supposed to be doing, right?" Beltre said. "I've been feeling better lately. Definitely."
He is 33 for 77 (.429) with 20 RBIs and 16 runs scored over the Rangers' current streak. He is one shy of Miguel Cabrera for the major league lead in hits.
"The only way I can really describe it, he's the MVP," Ian Kinsler said. "He's having an MVP-caliber season."
Beltre's power has been complemented by plenty of speed, as Texas leads the majors with 29 stolen bases in August. Elvis Andrus leads baseball with nine this month, while Leonys Martin and Alex Rios have seven apiece.
Tuesday's win was the Rangers' 13th in 14 games against the Astros since an opening-night loss.
Texas, which put former Houston reliever Travis Blackley on the hill Tuesday night, will face another potential target Wednesday in Erik Bedard.
Bedard (3-9, 4.49), a 34-year-old left-hander, doesn't quite fit in on Houston's youth-dominated roster. Rumors have circulated about Texas acquiring a pitcher, particularly since Alexi Ogando went on the disabled list Tuesday for the third time this season.
"I am comfortable with what we've got," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "You are always looking around, but I don't anticipate anything."
Bedard, for his part, would simply like to pick up his first win since June 26. The Astros (41-84) have lost his last eight starts, due in no small part to the paltry 14 runs they have provided him with.
Bedard has lost a career-worst six consecutive decisions, walking 27 over his last 45 1-3 innings. He walked four-plus batters for the fourth time in eight starts Thursday, allowing five runs in a 5-0 loss at Oakland.
Bedard went 4-1 with a 2.50 ERA against Texas through 2007, but is 1-4 with a 4.13 ERA since. Beltre has two home runs off him this year but is 5 for 27 (.185) overall.
Houston catcher Max Stassi had two hits in his major league debut Tuesday. Stassi is filling in for Carlos Corporan, who was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list Tuesday.
Teammate Matt Dominguez is 10 for his last 22 with three home runs, including a two-run shot Tuesday.
Updated August 21, 2013