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Major League Baseball
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Texas at Houston
When: 8:10 PM ET, Monday, May 1, 2017
Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas

The Houston Astros are off to one of the fastest starts in club history as they host the Texas Rangers on Monday in the opener of a four-game series and the first of 19 meetings this season. Houston (16-9) won 16 or more games in April for the third time in franchise history (the team record is 17) after Sunday's 7-2 victory over Oakland but must figure out a way to beat Texas, which won the last two season series 15-4 and 13-6.

The Astros have had little trouble versus the American League West this season, going 12-4 - the best record in the major leagues among teams against their own division. Houston's 3.38 ERA is third-best in the major leagues and its offense could be ready to catch up as leadoff hitter George Springer (.230) and cleanup batter Carlos Correa (.233) combined for four hits Sunday and eight in their last three games. Texas lost 5-2 to the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday to complete a 10-game homestand that began with four straight victories but ended up 6-4. The Astros' Lance McCullers Jr. is coming off his first loss of the season and opposes Andrew Cashner, who has been plagued by control issues.

TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (Texas), ROOT (Houston)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers RH Andrew Cashner (0-2, 2.93 ERA) vs. Astros RH Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 4.34)

Cashner allowed two runs, five hits and six walks while striking out three in four innings of an 8-1 loss to Minnesota on Tuesday. The 30-year-old Texan walked 13 in 15 1/3 innings over his three starts this season after entering 2017 with an average of 3.2 walks per nine innings. Cashner, who is 6-13 with a 3.01 ERA in 38 April appearances (21 starts), is 2-2 with a 3.97 ERA in 10 career games (two starts) versus Houston.

McCullers yielded five runs, seven hits and three walks while striking out five in five innings of a 7-6 loss at Cleveland on Wednesday. The 23-year-old Floridian was 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in his first four starts of the season - all Astros victories - and is 2-0 with a 1.83 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in three home turns. McCullers, though, is 0-3 with an 8.03 ERA and 1.95 WHIP in three starts versus Texas, losing 2-1 in his only appearance against the Rangers last season.

WALK-OFFS

1. Texas struck out a season-high 15 times Sunday with Nomar Mazara (.229, 1-for-19 in his last five games) leading the way with three after fanning only twice in the previous six contests.

2. Houston DH Carlos Beltran needs one extra-base hit to tie Pete Rose for third all-time among switch-hitters with 1,040. Eddie Murray (1,099) and Chipper Jones (1,055) top the list.

3. The Rangers claimed INF Pete Kozma off waivers from the Yankees on Sunday after New York designated him for assignment Friday. Kozma was 1-for-9 in 11 games with the Yankees this season and is a career .221 hitter.

PREDICTION: Astros 3, Rangers 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Texas 11-13 W1 8-7 3-6 0-0 5-5 6-8 0-0
Houston 15-9 L1 8-5 7-4 2-1 2-4 11-4 0-0
Last Meeting
Texas Houston
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
9/14/16 TEX 4 HOU 8 .222 1 .624 .343 2 .978
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Texas N/A
Houston N/A
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Texas H. Alberto 0 0 0
Houston J. Altuve 0 0 0
Pitching ERA Avg K
Texas 0.00 .000 0
Houston 0.00 .000 0
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Texas E. Andrus .283 26 .762
Houston Y. Gurriel .342 26 .859
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Texas J. Gallo 7 16 16
Houston G. Springer 7 14 14
Pitching ERA Avg K
Texas 3.80 .223 175
Houston 3.44 .271 228