ARLINGTON -- Now that the Astros have snapped their 12-game losing streak against the Rangers, their next trick will be to try to win a series against their in-state rivals.
The Astros will send left-hander Brett Oberholtzer to the mound in Sunday's series finale at Globe Life Park looking for their first series win over the Rangers since taking two of three at Minute Maid Park in Houston on June 24-26, 2008.
"Any time we get in the division it's going to be huge to try and win the series," said Astros pitcher Jarred Cosart, who had a quality start Saturday. "We're confident any time any starter is out there, and confident in the bullpen and confident in the guys behind us. I think the Rangers and all the other teams see how we're going to be a lot more competitive this year with how we're playing early. We've lost some close games and we're making a lot less mental mistakes than we did last year."
The Astros will try to get another quality start from Oberholtzer, who allowed three runs and three hits in 5 1/3 innings in a loss to the Blue Jays on Tuesday. Since joining Houston's rotation last July, he has a 2.63 ERA.
"It's still early for me, so I'm still getting used to how I operate," he said. "I need to just go out there and throw strikes and keep them off balance. The majority of what I do is watch how guys got them out previously."
The Rangers have struggled mightily with runners in scoring position the last three games, going 3-for-35 in their last three games. They were 0-for-7 in the series finale at Boston on Wednesday and 3-for-28 in the first-two games of the Astros series.
"The situational hitting hasn't been our issue," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "It's driving in a run. Execution has been good when I need them to execute something they've been doing it. So it's not an issue. We've just got to keep grinding out at-bats and pick up some of those runners we get into scoring position."
The Rangers will start lefty Martin Perez, who was 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 16 innings over two starts against Houston last season.
Astros: Ironman Altuve? It could happen.
Astros manager Bo Porter said Saturday he's not adverse to second baseman Jose Altuve playing in every game this year. That's a goal this year for the diminutive second baseman, who has started each of the team's first 12 games.
Altuve, 23, played in a career-high 152 games last year, missing a few days with a strained quadriceps muscle and four games last May while on the bereavement list following the death of his grandmother. He has started the Astros' first 12 games this season.
"Altuve's done a great job getting his body in shape," Porter said. "He is really locked into his profession and being ready to play each and every day, and I don't see any reason why he wouldn't play every day unless something physically was to happen. Him being one of the better players on our team, every day he's out there, I feel a whole lot better about winning."
Rangers: Beltre could be headed for the disabled list.
Rangers general manger Jon Daniels said Saturday slugger Adrian Beltre could headed to the disabled list with a strained left quad. Beltre, who's hitting .286 with no homers and four RBIs, didn't play Saturday, and the Rangers don't want his injury to get worse.
"But the last thing we want is for him to grab on it again and he's down for two or three months instead of two or three weeks," Daniels said. "In 2011, that happened, he tried to come back a little early from a hamstring and missed an additional three weeks because of it. That's the last thing we want. We're probably erring on the side of being cautious."
• The Rangers have four pinch-hit homers since Aug. 23, 2013 after Michael Choice hit his first career homer, a pinch-hit shot in the ninth off Kevin Chapman of the Astros, on Saturday.
• Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus has hit safely in each of the Rangers' first 11 games of the season, which is the second-longest such streak in team history.
• The Astros, who lost two of three games in Toronto to start their six-game road trip, can finish 3-3 with a win on Sunday. … Opponents are batting .109 against Texas in the last three games.
• Shin-Soo Choo tied Justin Smoak's club record with five strikeouts on Saturday.