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TEX@STL: Tepesch fans four Cardinals in 5 2/3 innings

After a nine-game homestand, the Astros finally head back out on the road. They do not travel far, as they head north on I-45 toward Arlington to take on the Texas Rangers. The Astros struggled during the homestand, going 2-7, specifically on offense, scoring only 12 runs in their past six games.

"I actually like being at home, even though we've struggled a bit," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "I like seeing my family. The schedule is what it is.

"We knew we'd be on the road heading into the All-Star [break]. The guys know that we need to play well this next week, and then they'll have some time off."

But Chris Carter has been heating up for Houston, belting out four homers since June 15 and showcasing some patience at the plate with eight walks in his last 14 games.

This is the Astros' first trip to Arlington as the Rangers' division rivals, having hosted Texas for six games already this season. Since beating the Rangers in a rousing Opening Day win, Houston has dropped its past five to Texas, allowing 35 runs in those losses.

The Rangers' normally potent offense has struggled of late. The Rangers scored four runs or fewer in eight of their past 10 games, scoring a first-inning run just once in their past 25.

Their biggest struggles have come with men in scoring position, where they're hitting just .209 this season. In their three-game set against Seattle, they went 4-for-20.

"It's been our Achilles' heel," manager Ron Washington said. "That just goes to show you how much heart they have to be where were are and not really score a ton of runs."

Rangers: Rangers need win from Tepesch
• The Rangers will need a bounce-back performance from Nick Tepesch if they want to keep up with the A's in the race for the American League West lead. After dropping the series to Seattle, Texas can ill afford many more divisional losses.

Tepesch has not won in his last eight starts.

"You have to constantly make adjustments," Washington said. "You can't live off what you've done in the past. You have to learn from it and apply the good things that happens and eliminate the bad."

Astros: Harrell pitching well
• Lucas Harrell will take the mound against the Rangers, and he has been pitching well lately. The 28-year old received a no-decision after allowing just one run in seven innings against the Angels.

In a previous start against Texas this year, he took a loss despite allowing just one run in six innings.

Worth noting
• The Rangers are 47-31 against their in-state rivals, outscoring them 454 to 330 in those games. Comments