06/19/10 2:12 AM ET
Astros look to close gap in Lone Star Series
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
Last year, the Rangers went 5-1 against the Astros to retain the Silver Boot trophy between the teams for the third consecutive season. Including Friday's 9-3 victory by Texas, the Rangers lead the all-time series against the Astros, 29-26.
The showdown continues Saturday when Colby Lewis takes the hill for the Rangers. The Astros will counter with Brian Moehler.
Here's the kicker: Lewis is 3-2 with a 2.70 ERA in his past five starts. He beat the Brewers, 7-2, on Sunday and had two hits and two RBIs. Want more? He also struck out 10 batters and is the first Rangers pitcher to have at least four 10-strikeout games since Nolan Ryan, a former Astros star, in 1991.
"I really didn't know I had 10 until the end of the game," Lewis said.
Moehler is looking for his first victory of the season. Through his first 16 appearances, including five starts, Moehler is 0-3. In his last start, the right-hander lasted 4 2/3 innings, allowing four earned runs on four hits and five walks against the Yankees in a 9-5 loss.
In the outing, Moehler gave up a one-out home run to Robinson Cano to tie the game at 1 in the fourth inning and then walked three batters in a row after there were two outs. Ramiro Pena, the No. 9 hitter, blooped a two-run single to right to make it 3-1.
He'll get another chance Saturday. He knows the task won't be an easy one.
"They're a good offensive ballclub, but we've faced some and done well against them and struggled against some others," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "But we're hoping it's nice having them here, and we'll see how we handle them and then again next week up there with the DH."
As for Lewis, opponents are hitting .197 off him, including .147 with runners in scoring position. He is 2-4 with a 3.68 ERA in eight starts on the road and 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in two starts against the National League this season.
Rangers: Harden, Holland won't be back soon
Josh Hamilton went 3-for-5 with a triple Friday and has hit safely in 14 consecutive games. ... Rich Harden and Derek Holland, both on the disabled list, will not be back anytime soon. Harden, on the DL with a strained gluteus muscle, was supposed to resume light throwing on Thursday, but that was delayed. Instead, Harden received an injection on Friday to relieve the pain and inflammation and will not resume throwing until early next week. Holland has been shut down after re-injuring his right knee during fielding practice at the Rangers' complex in Surprise, Ariz. ... The Rangers are 7-3 in Interleague Play this season. ... Outfielder Nelson Cruz, who has been on the disabled list since May 29, will play right field for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Saturday and serve as the DH on Sunday.
Astros: Norris feeling 100 percent healthy
Right-hander Bud Norris, on the disabled list since May 24 with bursitis and biceps tendinitis, rejoined the team Friday and said he felt 100 percent healthy after throwing two Minor League rehab stints earlier in the week. ... The Astros are 2-8 against the American League this season. Overall, the Astros are 10-9 in their past 19 games. The club is 22-10 when scoring four or more runs and 4-33 when scoring three runs or fewer. They are 17-1 when leading after seven innings. ... Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee have combined to hit 20 of Houston's 40 total home runs this season.
Texas Rangers president Ryan acknowledged Friday the club has interest in acquiring ace right-hander Roy Oswalt, who last month asked the Astros to trade him to a contender. ... The July 10 game between the Rangers and Orioles has been changed from 7:05 p.m. CT to 7:20 p.m. to accommodate a pregame ceremony for Michael Young. ... The Astros signed first-round pick Michael Foltynewicz. ... Astros first baseman Lance Berkman will meet with approximately 50 children from Child Advocates of Fort Bend and Casa de Esperanza prior to Saturday's game and provide them with tickets and a goodies bag.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.