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Texas at Houston

Venue: Minute Maid Park
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The Houston Astros' first game since moving to the AL couldn't have gone much better. Building on it in their second one could prove difficult with Yu Darvish set to take the mound for the Texas Rangers.

Houston tries to open with two wins for the first time in a decade when this new AL West rivalry continues at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night.

Expectations are low for the Astros as they finished with the worst record in the major leagues in each of the last two seasons - including a club-record 107 losses in 2012 - before the club's 50-year run in the NL ended for this year. However, for one night at least, Houston found itself atop the AL standings after defeating Texas 8-2 on Sunday.

Rick Ankiel's three-run pinch-hit homer in the sixth inning made 40-year-old Bo Porter a winner in his managerial debut, and gave Houston its first season-opening victory since 2006.

"To play our rivals here in Texas and to come out on top today, it's a treat," designated hitter Carlos Pena said.

Facing Darvish isn't. The right-hander begins his second big-league season after going 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA and 221 strikeouts in 2012.

Darvish went 4-0 with a 1.85 ERA in his final six outings before taking the loss in the Rangers' winner-take-all wild-card game against Baltimore.

"I expect him to begin where he left off last season," pitching coach Mike Maddux told the Rangers' official website. "He had a nice spring (a 1.98 ERA and .167 opponents' batting average) and I see more confidence there."

Darvish has faced the Astros once - a 6-2 home win June 15 in which he struck out 11 in eight innings of two-run ball.

Center fielder Justin Maxwell, who had two triples and two RBIs on Sunday, is the only Astro with more than one hit off Darvish. He's 2 for 3 with a homer.

Houston's Lucas Harrell gets the challenge of matching up with Darvish on Tuesday.

"I look at it more like I'm facing their lineup," said Harrell (11-11, 3.76), who set career highs with 193 2/3 innings and 140 strikeouts last season. "They've got a good lineup, and I need to definitely be on my game."

That's especially true when he faces third baseman Adrian Beltre, who's 5 for 7 with two doubles against the right-hander. Nelson Cruz and David Murphy, who drove in the Rangers' runs Sunday, are each 2 for 6 with a homer off Harrell.

Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus is hitless in four-at-bats against Harrell, and he went 0 for 4 on Sunday. Andrus has agreed to an eight-year, $120 million extension.

New Rangers designated hitter and longtime Astro Lance Berkman is batting .471 (24 for 51) in a 13-game hitting streak at Minute Maid Park. He went 2 for 4 on Sunday when the Rangers dropped their opener for the first time since 2008.

"I think there have been some people who have been disparaging in their analysis of (Houston's) talent level, but this is the major leagues, and any team is capable of beating any other team on a given night," Berkman said.

Texas hasn't opened 0-2 since an 0-3 start to 2007.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Probable Starters

Yu Darvish, HP
2013 stats
- Innings Pitched -
--- Wins-Losses ---
- Earned Run Average -
- Walks -
- Strikeouts -
0 Pitches Per Start 0
Career vs. opponent
- Innings Pitched -
--- Wins-Losses ---
- Earned Run Average -

Lucas Harrell, RHP
Weather
Indoor
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Texas5th AL West4060.40021 ½ 2-8 L 1
Houston4th AL West4258.42019 ½ 6-4 W 2
 
 

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Game Odds
AwayLineHomeLine
Texas -155 Houston 145
Injuries
Texas
PlayerInjury
E. BeltreLeg
P. FielderNeck
P. FigueroaElbow
M. HarrisonBack
D. HollandKnee
K. KouzmanoffBack
M. MorelandAnkle
A. OgandoElbow
J. OrtizFoot
M. PerezElbow
J. ProfarShoulder
A. RiosAnkle
T. ScheppersElbow
J. SmolinskiFoot
G. SotoGroin
Houston
PlayerInjury
M. AlbersShoulder
J. CisneroElbow
J. CrainBiceps, calf
D. FowlerIntercostal
C. McHughFinger
A. PresleyOblique
G. SpringerKnee, quadriceps
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
Apr 18OAKOAK 11-3Gray Cosart 
Apr 19OAKOAK 4-3Otero Qualls 
Apr 20OAKOAK 4-1Chavez Peacock 
Apr 24HOUOAK 10-1Kazmir Oberholtzer 
Apr 25HOUOAK 12-5Gregerson Fields 
Apr 26HOUHOU 7-6Williams Doolittle 
Apr 27HOUHOU 5-1McHugh Milone 
Jul 22OAKHOU 3-2Downs Abad 
Jul 23OAK10:05 PM EDT  
Jul 24OAK 3:35 PM EDT  
Jul 28HOU 8:10 PM EDT  
Jul 29HOU 8:10 PM EDT  
Jul 30HOU 2:10 PM EDT  
Aug 25HOU 8:10 PM EDT  
Aug 26HOU 8:10 PM EDT  
Aug 27HOU 8:10 PM EDT  
Sep 5OAK10:05 PM EDT  
Sep 6OAK 4:05 PM EDT  
Sep 7OAK 4:05 PM EDT