video thumbnail

SEA@TEX: Holland fans six over seven shutout frames

The Rangers haven't been too kind to the Astros during their in-state rival's first season in the American League West.

Texas has won 13 of its last 14 against Houston since an Opening Night loss, including a comeback 4-2 win on Tuesday night.

The Rangers will go for the sweep of the three-game series on Wednesday night, as the teams continue to head in opposite directions.

While the last-place Astros came into Arlington fresh off a pair of road series wins, they have lost two in a row to Texas.

Meanwhile, the Rangers are in the thick of another pennant race, with Tuesday's triumph maintaining their narrow advantage over Oakland in the AL West. That puts even more of an emphasis on closing out a series, even sets the Rangers have already claimed.

"Every game means something from here on out," said Wednesday's starter Derek Holland. "We're in a close race with Oakland. We need to gain ground and win as many games as we can."

Holland is 1-2 with a 2.55 ERA since the All-Star break, and opponents are hitting .218 off him over that span. But his teammates are averaging just 3.19 runs per nine innings in those six starts, explaining the losing mark.

"I know they are doing everything they can," Holland said. "That's the way baseball is. You've just got to take the runs when they come. There may be nights when I don't get past the third inning and they score 60 runs."

Holland was brilliant in his last start, tossing seven innings of shutout ball in Seattle before the bullpen squandered a late 1-0 lead in a loss.

In the outing before that, the lefty faced Houston and surrendered three runs over six innings while allowing nine baserunners.

"I'm just going out and doing what I usually do," Holland said. "Not change anything. The last time I faced these guys they had a little success against me. You can't take them lightly. You have to go after those guys."

Those guys include Astros slugger Chris Carter, who has belted 14 home runs on the road this season, tied for for fifth in the American League. That's made for a .522 slugging percentage on the road, tied for 10th in the American League.

He's done damage during this lengthy Astros road trip, collecting eight RBIs with two homers and two doubles. Contrast that to how he's fared at home, where he's hit just nine home runs and slugged .348 this season.

"I really don't know why it's such a difference," Carter said. "I feel the same way either at home or on the road, it's just been working out for me more on the road this year. That's not usually how I've been. It's just this year I guess how it's been."

Hoping to back up Carter and the rest of the Houston lineup will be lefty Erik Bedard, who is 5-5 with a 3.55 ERA in 19 career games (18 starts) against the Rangers.

The crafty veteran started this season slow, but has surged over the last three months despite a 3-9 record. Bedard has held foes to two earned runs or less in 10 of his last 17 starts, compiling a healthy 3.84 ERA during that stretch.

Astros: Stassi called up
Houston manager Bo Porter has joked all season that his third-string catcher is a phone call away. He had to follow through with it on Tuesday, as the Astros placed catcher Carlos Corporan on the 7-day concussion disabled list and called up Max Stassi from Double-A Corpus Christi.

Corporan was with the team on Tuesday, but will meet with a specialist on Wednesday in Houston. Corporan still felt dizzy a day after he was hit in the mask by a foul ball in the third inning of Monday's game.

Corporan didn't pass the concussion test given by the trainers after he was replaced by Jake Elmore in the fourth inning.

"I told the trainer to re-do it [Tuesday], but they decided to put me on the 7-day DL," Corporan said. "If I get hit again, that'll be a severe consequence on my head."

Rangers: Impressive August run continues
Tuesday's four runs continued Texas' impressive offensive month, with the Rangers now having tallied 111 runs in August. That's the most in the American League by more than a dozen runs, as Texas is averaging 6.1 runs per game.

The Rangers were eighth in runs scored in July and 12th in June. The improvement this month has come depsite Nelson Cruz serving his 50-game suspension, although the Rangers were able to alleviate that loss by acquiring Alex Rios from the White Sox.

"We have been able to get loose on the basepaths," manager Ron Washington said. "We have been able to do a lot of things that have been presented to us. If Nelson had been in the lineup, it would have been the same thing."

Most importantly, the Rangers are now 14-4 in August.

Worth noting
• The Rangers recalled pitcher Matt West and put him on the 60-day disabled list. The move was made to make room on the 40-man roster for pitcher Travis Blackley, who started Tuesday's game and allowed two runs over four innings. West is still recovering from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery.

• Stassi was the 13th player to make his Major League debut this season for the Astros.

MLB.com Comments