The Houston Astros look to put a stamp on a successful road trip on Monday when they begin a three-game series with the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark.
The Astros have gone 4-2 on their current road trip, which wraps up this week in Arlington. After winning two of three in Oakland, they went into Anaheim and took two of three from the Angels over the weekend. Houston had gone the previous two months without winning a series.
Matt Dominguez headlined Sunday's 7-5 victory over the Halos, as he went 4- for-5 and blasted a three-run home run in the seventh inning to break a 3-3 tie. The homer came after L.A. decided to intentionally walk catcher Carlos Corporan to face Dominguez.
"I think these guys have done a tremendous job," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "Just look at the number of games we've been in position to win and haven't been able to put up as many wins as we'd like from an organizational standpoint. The staff and players come each and every day ready to play, they give maximum effort and the preparation is there."
Texas has won 15 of its last 19 games and is off to a 12-4 start in August, although the team lost two of three at home to Seattle this weekend. The Rangers rallied from three separate one-run deficits on Sunday, only to lose in the ninth inning when Joe Nathan gave up a run-scoring double as the Mariners claimed a 4-3 decision.
With that outcome, Texas entered Monday with only a half-game lead over Oakland in the American League West.
Matt Garza will take the hill for the Rangers in Monday's series opener. Garza has given up four runs in each of his last three starts, although the team has also managed to win four of his last five outings.
"He can give up four runs and we'll still win," manager Ron Washington said. "He just keeps us in ballgames."
The right-hander yielded eight hits in 5 2/3 innings against Milwaukee his last time out.
Jordan Lyles was scheduled to start for Houston on Monday, but he pitched 2 1/3 innings out of the bullpen in Sunday's win. Instead, Lucas Harrell gets his first start since July 30. Harrell has shuffled in between the bullpen and rotation this season, and he has gone 5-10 with a 5.12 ERA as a starter.
"He's been throwing the ball well out of the 'pen and we knew we had that option if we were forced to use Jordan (Lyles on Sunday), which the game dictated we had to use him. We knew we had Harrell, who will be coming back on his fourth day (of rest)."
The Rangers have won 16 of 19 matchups with Houston dating back to last season. They swept the Astros at Minute Maid Park from Aug. 9-12.