Astros at Rangers
The Texas Rangers attempt to continue their surge toward a wild-card spot and complete a three-game sweep when they host the American League West-leading Houston Astros for the series finale on Sunday. Texas has climbed within 2 1/2 games of the AL's second wild card by posting three straight wins, including Saturday's 8-3 triumph.
Brett Nicholas belted a three-run homer and Adrian Beltre extended his hitting streak to seven games by going 3-for-4 with three RBIs as the Rangers registered their third straight victory. Houston remains in search of its first victory on its eight-game road trip as the club has lost the first five contests, allowing six or more runs in four of the setbacks. J.D. Davis recorded his first two major-league RBIs in his fourth career contest for the Astros, who have dropped 11 of their last 14 games. Houston, which managed only four hits on Saturday, still owns a comfortable 12-game lead in the AL West.
TV: 3:05 p.m. ET, AT&T SportsNet-Southwest (Houston), FSN Southwest (Texas)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros LH Dallas Keuchel (9-2, 2.87 ERA) vs. Rangers RH Andrew Cashner (7-8, 3.36)
Keuchel has struggled since returning from a neck injury that sidelined him for close to two months, going 0-2 with a 10.50 ERA in three starts. The 29-year-old native of Oklahoma's ERA for the season has risen more than a full run (1.67 to 2.87) during his time back, thanks in part to a brutal loss to the White Sox in Chicago on Tuesday in which he was battered for eight runs and 10 hits over four innings. Keuchel improved to 6-7 with a 4.04 ERA in 19 career turns against the Rangers in his last outing before the injury on June 2, when he scattered three hits over six scoreless frames.
Cashner won his third consecutive start on Aug. 2, defeating Seattle after allowing one run and six hits in six innings. The 30-year-old Texan also has emerged victorious in three straight turns at home, with his last setback at Globe Life Park coming on June 3 against Houston. Cashner began the season with a 2-2 lifetime record versus the Astros but lost his first three meetings this year, surrendering 12 runs and 24 hits over 16 innings.
1. The Rangers optioned OF Ryan Rua to Triple-A Round Rock and activated RHP Tyson Ross, who allowed three runs over 5 2/3 innings in a victory on Saturday after spending time on the disabled list with a blister on his right index finger.
2. Houston OF George Springer is one home run shy of matching the career high of 29 he set last season and has belted five of his shots this year against the Rangers.
3. Texas claimed Phil Gosselin off waivers from Pittsburgh and optioned him to Round Rock while sending fellow INF Tyler Smith outright to the Express.