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TEX@LAA: Darvish fans six over seven for win No. 11

Monday's series finale between the Rangers and Astros at Minute Maid Park will feature an intriguing pitching matchup.

While Texas' Yu Darvish has established himself as a frontline starter, Houston's Brett Oberholtzer is continuing his emergence.

Darvish is 3-1 with a 1.37 ERA in his last four starts and feels his health has been instrumental to his success.

"I'm in better shape right now, so I'm going to pitch better this time," said Darvish, who spent time on the disabled list this season. "I have better command of my fastball, but not just fastballs, but sliders and other pitches. I'm able to command those pitches in the strike zone, so that might be the key."

Meanwhile, Oberholtzer has only made a pair of Major League starts, but he has been dominant, as he has thrown seven shutout innings in both of them.

"I think people know I can start now," Oberholtzer said. "I've been one my whole career. I think I'm built to start. Now it's just going out and proving it time and time again that I can help this team win, not just for the short haul, but for the long haul."

Oberholtzer is the first player in franchise history to throw at least seven scoreless innings in his first two starts and he is the first player to do so in the Majors since Phillies pitcher Marty Bystrom accomplished the feat in 1980.

Rangers: Berkman recovering
Rangers designated hitter Lance Berkman (left hip inflammation) went 2-for-3 with a single and a home run in a rehab game for Triple-A Round Rock on Saturday, and manager Ron Washington was pleased with the report.

"He swung the bat well," Washington said.

Berkman is not expected back any earlier than Friday, but he will retake his role as the designated hitter when he does.

"One thing, he knows how to hit," Washington said. "If his body allows him, he knows how to hit."

Astros: Altuve ailing
Astros second baseman Jose Altuve was not 100 percent for Saturday's game against the Rangers, but the gritty infielder was in the lineup once again on Sunday.

"He doesn't have that burst of speed we're used to seeing," Astros manager Bo Porter said.

But that doesn't mean Altuve will miss time.

"At the same time, he's not coming out of the lineup," Porter said. "As the manager and the training staff, we do have to monitor it and protect him from himself."

Altuve went 1-for-4 on Sunday with a double, on which he was thrown out at third in trying to stretch it into a triple.

Worth noting
• The Astros and Rangers have played 12 games this season and the Rangers, who are going for the four-game sweep on Monday, have won 10 of the contests. Comments