|11:10 AM PT12:10 PM MT1:10 PM CT2:10 PM ET14:10 ET18:10 GMT2:10 11:10 AM MST1:10 PM EST1:40 PM VEN22:10 UAE1:10 PM CT, August 31, 2014
Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas Attendance: 19,024
Texas Rangers at Houston Astros
- After losing three of the first four matchups between the clubs this season, the Astros have now won seven of their last eight games against the Rangers.
- The Rangers have won three of their last four games after winning just two of their previous nine contests. The Astros have just two wins in their last seven games.
- Nick Tepesch, who has just one win in his last eight starts overall, is 2-0 with a 3.31 ERA in three career starts against the Astros.
- Collin McHugh is 2-0 with a 1.76 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP in five starts this August, while holding his opponents to one run in four of those five outings. McHugh will be facing Texas for the first time in his career.
- Chris Carter has homered in three consecutive games and has hit a ML-leading 20 home runs since July 1. Carter is 1-for-7 with one double and four strikeouts in his career against Nick Tepesch.
- Leonys Martin, who is hitting .440 (22-for-50) over his last 14 games, has failed to record a hit in seven of his last 10 games against Houston.
- Red Sox land 3B Sandoval, SS Ramirez
- Big Unit, Pedro head 2015 Hall ballot
- 3B Seager, M's agree on 7 years, $100M
- Dodgers acquire RHP Nicasio from Rockies
- Giants set record for postseason shares
(AP) -- The Houston Astros' Jose Altuve and Texas Rangers' Adrian Beltre are both vying to win the AL batting title.
Those hitters probably won't be slowed down in Sunday's series finale based on the starting pitchers.
The Astros will give the ball to Dallas Keuchel and the Rangers counter with rookie Nick Martinez in Sunday's four-game series finale in Houston.
The Houston second baseman leads the majors with a .332 average, while Beltre is not far behind him at .325 in a race that includes Detroit's Victor Martinez and Seattle's Robinson Cano.
Altuve has hit safely in eight straight games, going 4 for 12 in this series. Beltre is 3 for 10 in the first three games.
There's reason to believe both will maintain that level of production. Altuve is 2 for 4 this year against the inexperienced Martinez (3-10, 5.31 ERA) while Beltre is 7 for 22 over the last two years versus Keuchel.
Beltre is also a .349 hitter off left-handers as he gets ready to face Keuchel (10-9, 3.05), who is known best for his ability to induce ground balls.
The southpaw leads the majors in groundball percentage (63.5) and groundball-to-flyball ratio (3.46). He has induced 28 groundball double plays to tie Detroit's Rick Porcello for the big-league lead.
Keuchel is 2-1 with a 3.74 ERA in three starts against the Rangers this year, getting them to ground into six twin-killings.
He is 0-2 with a 3.34 ERA in five outings this month, allowing two runs in seven innings in Tuesday's 4-2 victory over Oakland.
Houston's ability to turn two may be hampered if shortstop Marwin Gonzalez misses a second straight game. He was scratched from Saturday's 2-0 victory with discomfort in his right hamstring, and Gregorio Petit started in his place.
"I think it's just a one-day thing," manager Bo Porter told MLB's official website. "It's just a little bit tight. He's been playing really well and we don't want to risk anything moving forward."
Gonzalez is 8 for 17 on this nine-game homestand.
Houston (58-79) has taken two of the first three games even though Chris Carter is 1 for 10. Carter leads the majors with 14 homers since the All-Star break.
The Astros clinched the season series and the Silver Boot between these state rivals Saturday, improving to 10-5 versus the Rangers.
Texas (53-82) had not lost the season series since 2006 and is assured its first losing season since 2008. The Rangers have alternated wins and losses in the first six games of this 10-game trip.
Martinez is the first Texas right-handed rookie to reach double figures in defeats since Jose Guzman and Edwin Correa in 1986.
He won his lone start against the Astros exactly three weeks ago by allowing two runs over five innings in a 6-2 road victory. Keuchel was charged with five runs in six innings.
The Rangers have won six straight day games, including that contest.
Updated August 31, 2014