The Texas Rangers usually have at least two position players make the All-Star game, but Nelson Cruz is the only one this year.
The Houston Astros certainly know how dangerous he can be.
Cruz has a 13-game hitting streak against the Astros with homers in the last four matchups heading into Sunday's series finale in Arlington.
Texas (50-37) will see its streak of having more than one position player in the All-Star game end at five, barring any injury replacements. Cruz, with team highs of 22 home runs and 66 RBIs, will be the only one at Citi Field.
"He has been the one constant and certainly needed," manager Ron Washington told the Rangers' official website. "He is a big reason why we are where we are."
Cruz is hitting .370 with five homers and 17 RBIs during his streak against the Astros. He also owns a 10-game run against them at home in which he's batting .375 with five homers and 11 RBIs.
The right fielder went 3 for 4 on Saturday but the Rangers' six-game win streak over the Astros ended with a 9-5 defeat.
Jason Castro hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the seventh inning as Houston went deep three times and finished with its highest-scoring effort in 16 games.
"There was a feeling on the bench that we had put together some pretty good at_bats and that we could break through,' said Castro, 7 for 13 with six RBIs in his last three games against the Rangers after going 0 for 19 in the first five meetings.
Marc Krauss went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and Brett Wallace reached base all five times for Houston (32-56), which won for the second time in nine games.
"Those guys are professionals and they could catch some pitches. Tonight they caught some," Washington said. "They swung the bats well.'
Krauss was 1 for 15 in his career before getting three straight singles.
"I thought Krauss had tremendous at_bats," manager Bo Porter said. "He really grinded it."
The Rangers are now 16-11 against left-handed starters as they prepare to face Erik Bedard (3-4, 4.59 ERA), who owns a 6.69 ERA on the road compared to a 2.98 home mark.
Bedard has gone 2-1 with a 2.92 ERA in his last four outings, but those all came at home. He yielded two runs over five innings and did not get a decision in his lone start of the season against Texas on May 11, an 8-7 home loss.
Cruz is 6 for 19 against Bedard, faring better than Adrian Beltre (4 for 22) and Elvis Andrus (3 for 17).
Right-hander Justin Grimm (7-6, 5.84) will oppose Bedard. He's 2-3 with a 9.31 ERA in his last six outings.
Grimm won his lone start against Houston in his major league debut last June 16, yielding three runs over six innings of an 8-3 home victory.
The Rangers will likely activate right-hander Joakim Soria on Sunday. The former Kansas City closer hasn't pitched since 2011 due to elbow ligament replacement surgery.
The Associated Press News Service
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