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5


American League Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, April 12th (All times Eastern)

Houston Astros (4-7) at Texas Rangers (5-5), 8:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Houston - Jarred Cosart (1-1, 4.09) Texas - Tanner Scheppers (0-1, 9.00)

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Texas Rangers continued their mastery of the Houston Astros in Friday's opener. Now they'll try for just their second winning streak of the season when they continue a three-game set against their Lone Star State rivals on Saturday at Globe Life Park.

Houston lost 111 games a year ago and 17 of those setbacks came to the Rangers, who have won 12 straight in this series and are 37-7 against the Astros since the start of the 2009 campaign.

Texas has also won the last 14 individual series in the matchup.

That trend continued on Friday, as Robinson Chirinos' RBI single in the 12th inning carried the Rangers to a 1-0 win.

Texas, which went 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position, had runners on second or third in each of the final six innings before Chirinos cashed in.

Kevin Kouzmanoff singled to right with one out in the 12th and moved up to second on a wild pitch by Brad Peacock (0-1). Two batters later, Chirinos worked the count full and ripped one up the middle to break the deadlock.

"I really thank God for this great moment and this great opportunity to come through when the team needed," said Chirinos. "You have to really give credit to the whole pitching staff. They kept battling, getting outs. We kept pushing and pushing and finally we did it."

Five Texas pitchers combined for a two-hit shutout with Jason Frasor (1-0) earning the win. Rangers starter Yu Darvish, who made just his second start of the season, carried a perfect game through five innings before Matt Dominguez broke it up with a leadoff single in the sixth.

Darvish threw eight scoreless innings, allowing one hit and a walk with nine strikeouts.

Leonys Martin collected two hits for the Rangers, who had eight hits as a team.

Scott Feldman toed the slab for Houston and allowed two hits and four walks with three strikeouts over seven scoreless frames. Dominguez had both Houston hits.

"He (Feldman) left it all out there," said Astros manager Bo Porter. "I'm proud of him."

Houston only had five baserunners on the night and went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position.

Hoping for a little more support on Saturday will be 23-year-old Jarred Cosart, who was nowhere near as sharp on Monday as he was in his season debut. Five days after holding the New York Yankees scoreless through five innings, Cosart was rocked by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for five runs in six innings, as he fell to 1-1 on the year to go along with a 4.09 ERA.

"Me spotting them three runs, that doesn't help from any standpoint, offensively, defensively and as a whole team," Cosart said. "You can put the game on my shoulders. Maybe if I go out there and have a quicker first and get us in there and get something going early, the outcome could have changed."

Cosart lost his only start to the Rangers, who will counter with a young arm of their own in 27-year-old righty Tanner Scheppers.

Scheppers lost to the Boston Red Sox on Monday, despite a solid showing that saw him allow just two runs in five innings and lowered his ERA to a still lofty 9.00. He also walked three batters.

"For the most part I kept the ball on the ground and threw my offspeed pitches over for strikes," Scheppers said. "But I've got to go deeper in the game. Forcing the manager's hand in the fifth inning is not what a starting pitcher should do."

Scheppers' showing was far better than his initial outing that saw him yield seven runs in four frames.

04/12 10:31:44 ET

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