Houston Astros at Texas Rangers
- Texas went 17-2 against the Astros last season, including wins in each of the last 11 games. The 11-game winning streak versus the Astros is the longest active winning streak versus any single opponent in the majors.
- Yu Darvish is 4-1 with a 2.72 ERA in six career starts against Houston. His 13.19 strikeouts per nine innings versus the Astros is the largest by any pitcher against Houston all-time (minimum five starts).
- The Rangers' relievers have combined for a 6.21 ERA so far this season, the 28th best in the majors, after sporting a 2.89 bullpen ERA in 2013 (fourth best in MLB).
- Scott Feldman has won each of his first two starts with the Astros. He will be looking to become the sixth player in franchise history to win each of his first three starts with Houston (also Don Nottebart, Robin Roberts, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens and Bud Norris).
- The Astros are hitting .203 this season, the second-lowest batting average in franchise history through the team's first 10 games (.198 in 1963).
- With three RBI against the Blue Jays in Toronto on Thursday, Jonathan Villar became the fourth different Astros player 22-years-old or younger to have 3+ RBI in a road game since 1985, joining Eric Anthony (twice), Richard Hidalgo (twice) and Jose Altuve (twice).
- Phils' Hamels, 3 relievers no-hit Braves
- Astros fire Porter, Lawless takes over
- Cardinals beat Pirates to move into 1st
- Dunn homers in first at-bat as A's roll
- Nats' Gonzalez tops Dodgers for rare win
By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO
(AP) -- The Texas Rangers have won back-to-back games just once this season, but with two more meetings with the Houston Astros on deck, it's easy to see them building a winning streak.
The Rangers look for their 13th straight win and 19th in 20 tries against the Astros on Saturday night.
Texas (5-5) has rotated wins and losses over the past six games, a trend that continued when Robinson Chirinos scored Kevin Kouzmanoff with two outs in the 12th for a 1-0 win in the opener of this three-game set.
The Rangers have won 37 of their last 44 meetings with the Astros (4-7), including 12 in a row - eight of which have come in Arlington behind a 2.28 ERA.
Pitching was vital in the opener of this Lone Star Series, as Yu Darvish allowed one hit through eight innings before four relievers held Houston to one more the rest of the way.
The Rangers will be hoping Tanner Scheppers (0-1, 9.00 ERA) can draw some inspiration from that performance.
Scheppers gave up seven runs in four innings against Texas on Opening Day - his first career start after 115 relief appearances - but was better Monday in Boston. He was still on the hook for the 5-1 loss, though, after allowing two runs and nine hits over five innings.
"For the most part I kept the ball on the ground," the right-hander told the team's official website. "I've got to give the team more innings. I've got to go deeper in the ballgame. Forcing the manager's hand in the fifth inning is not what a starting pitcher should do."
Scheppers has allowed six runs and has a 2.68 WHIP in 6 1-3 innings over eight relief outings against Houston.
Shin-Soo Choo is only 4 for 23 in seven career games against the Astros, but he's walked 11 times in those 34 plate appearances. He's among the league leaders with 10 this season - three of which came Friday - and is hitting .353.
The Astros, meanwhile, have struggled offensively while losing four of five games. They're hitting .174 with 12 runs in that stretch and have gone 2 for 28 with runners in scoring position.
They didn't give Jarred Cosart (1-1, 4.09) any support Monday against the Angels in an odd outing for the right-hander. He only gave up three hits in six innings, but four walks were costly as he wound up being charged with a career-high five runs in a 9-1 loss.
That came five days after he tossed five scoreless innings in a 3-1 win over the New York Yankees, but Cosart claimed lethargy was a factor against the Angels.
"I couldn't wake my body up," Cosart told the team's official website. "Obviously, I just got behind a lot of hitters."
He allowed three runs with three walks in six innings of a 4-2 loss at Texas on Aug. 20.
Updated April 12, 2014