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Preview: Astros (44-63) at Rangers (43-64)
BT Movements  ·  Line Movements
Game: 1
Venue: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
Date: July 05, 2013 8:05 PM EDT
  

The Texas' Rangers' offense hasn't been productive lately, but perhaps a late rally in their last game is the starting point they need to break out.

Facing baseball's worst pitching staff for a three-game series could also help, though in the opener they'll draw a starter who has been solid of late.

Texas hopes its bats come alive Friday night as it hosts Lucas Harrell and the Houston Astros.

The Rangers (49-36) have won six of 10 despite a mediocre offensive stretch. They had scored 30 runs in nine games prior to Thursday's 5-4 win over Seattle, leaving 62 men on base in the process. They rank near the bottom of the majors with a .241 average with runners in scoring position, but had been especially poor in their last nine, hitting .192 in such situations.

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Texas was on the verge of being swept at home for only the second time this season Thursday, trailing 3-1 before a four-run seventh inning turned things around. Adrian Beltre, who hit the second of his two homers to lead off the inning, finished 3 for 4 and is 13 for 33 (.394) over his last eight games.

It was his 24th career multihomer game and gave him 16 home runs this year. His .298 batting average leads the team.

"(Beltre) shows up every day and he not only comes to do his job, he comes to beat the opponent,' manager Ron Washington said of the third baseman, whose homer in the third inning was his first in 23 games. "He battles every single day and he makes everyone around him better."

But other Rangers, particularly Ian Kinsler and Mitch Moreland, are mired in slumps, though both registered a hit Thursday. Moreland is 6 for 40 (.150) over his last 11, while Kinsler is 3 for 27 in seven contests to lower his average to .281.

The Rangers have won five straight against Houston, batting .315 with 10 homers and 13 doubles.

The Astros' ERA of 4.78 ranks last in baseball, a big reason for the majors' worst record at 31-55. They lost for the eighth time in 10 games Thursday with a 7-5 defeat to Tampa Bay, but should feel good about giving the ball to Harrell (5-8, 4.59). He allowed the Rangers just one run in six innings in his first start of the season April 2, though it was in a losing effort as Houston lost 7-0.

Harrell has posted a 3.22 ERA over his last six starts, but has a 1-2 record to show for it with the Astros providing eight runs of support. He recorded a quality start for the fourth time in six games Sunday, limiting the Angels to one run and striking out seven in seven innings without a decision in a 3-1 loss.

"His stuff was probably as good as it had been all year," manager Bo Porter said.

A liner caught the right-hander on his left leg in the sixth inning, but Harrell said he was OK afterward.

"After the initial contact, it kind of faded away," he said. "You've just got to go back to making pitches."

Texas starter Nick Tepesch (3-6, 4.71) beat Houston on May 12, surrendering a run and four hits while striking out a season-high eight in six innings of a 12-7 victory, but the rookie is winless in his last eight starts since while posting a 5.31 ERA.

Beltre is 5 for 10 with two doubles off Harrell.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

 SERIES AT A GLANCE
GAME 1
Astros at Rangers
Fri, Jul 5 Final 5 to 10
 Boxscores    Recaps
GAME 2
Astros at Rangers
Sat, Jul 6 Final 9 to 5
 Boxscores    Recaps
GAME 3
Astros at Rangers
Sun, Jul 7 Final 4 to 5
 Boxscores    Recaps

 CURRENT LAS VEGAS LINE
 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 HOU  +205   -105   9.5 
 TEX  -225   -115   
LAS VEGAS LINE MOVEMENTS

 CURRENT SPORTSBOOK LINE
 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 HOU  +200   +105   9.5 
 TEX  -240   -125   
OFFSHORE LINE MOVEMENTS

 BETTING TRENDS
 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 HOU  17%   7%   63% 
 TEX  83%   93%   37% 
BT MOVEMENTS

 MLB HEAD TO HEAD
 May 12, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 TEX 12 Cover: +100 
 HOU 7 Over: 19 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 May 11, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 TEX 8 Cover: +100 
 HOU 7 Over: 15 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 May 10, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 TEX 4 Cover: +100 
 HOU 2 Under: 6 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Apr 3, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 TEX 4 Cover: +100 
 HOU 0 Under: 4 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Apr 2, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 TEX 7 Cover: +100 
 HOU 0 Under: 7 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Mar 31, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 TEX 2 Over: 10 
 HOU 8 Cover: +150 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps

 MLB PREVIEWS
 Friday, Jul 5
 
    Pirates at Cubs
4:05 PM EDT
    Orioles at Yankees
7:05 PM EDT
    Twins at Blue Jays
7:05 PM EDT
    Tigers at Indians
7:05 PM EDT
    Padres at Nationals
7:05 PM EDT
    Braves at Phillies
7:05 PM EDT
    Mariners at Reds
7:10 PM EDT
    White Sox at Rays
7:10 PM EDT
    Astros at Rangers
8:05 PM EDT
    Athletics at Royals
8:10 PM EDT
    Mets at Brewers
8:10 PM EDT
    Marlins at Cardinals
8:15 PM EDT
    Rockies at Diamondbacks
9:40 PM EDT
    Red Sox at Angels
10:05 PM EDT
    Dodgers at Giants
10:15 PM EDT
 
 
 
  
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