Astros-Rangers Preview

The Houston Astros didn't get much out of a pair of starting pitchers, including a recently acquired one, in a series-opening loss to Texas.

The Astros will seek to bounce back by extending Rangers right-hander Yovani Gallardo's recent woes Tuesday night.

Lance McCullers recorded just one out while giving up six runs in the first inning and that forced Mike Fiers to make his Houston debut in relief instead of starting Tuesday's game as scheduled. Fiers, acquired from Milwaukee, gave up five of his six runs in the first of his five innings in a 12-9 loss.

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Fiers served up a solo homer to Adrian Beltre that allowed the third baseman to become the first player in 82 years to hit for the cycle three times. Behind Beltre's 4-for-5 night, the Rangers (52-53) finished with 15 hits and are batting .325 while averaging 6.5 runs in a 5-1 stretch, all at home.

"(Beltre) has a presence in our lineup," manager Jeff Banister told MLB's official website. "When he is in the middle of our lineup, it gives our guys confidence."

The Astros (60-47) are 11-5 since the All-Star break and started by taking two of three from Texas on July 17-19, but they've dropped nine of 10 on the road. Houston was batting .183 with 13 runs in its prior nine away from home until making Tuesday's game a little more competitive en route to finishing with 13 hits.

"We kept plugging away and we didn't give in, and that's been a big part of our mentality this year - no matter what the deficit, there's always a shot we can come back," catcher Jason Castro said after hitting his third career grand slam.

The Astros, batting .310 with an average of 6.4 runs in their last seven overall contests, limited Gallardo (7-9, 3.39 ERA) to four-plus innings in a 10-0 rout July 19. He was charged with five runs and that started a three-game stretch in which he's gone 0-1 with a 9.64 ERA.

Gallardo, winless in his last six starts, gave up five runs in six innings Thursday in a 7-6 win over the New York Yankees and remained with the Rangers after Friday's trade deadline.

"Now I feel like I am a part of this ballclub and they have shown confidence in me that I can help this ballclub," he said.

Gallardo yielded two runs in 5 2-3 innings in his only start in Arlington against the Astros on April 11. In this one, he's expected to pitch opposite Dan Straily (0-0, 5.06).

The right-hander is being recalled from the minors to make his third start this season, and first since July 8.

Straily is 3-1 with a 4.23 ERA in seven starts against the Rangers with his most recent April 21, 2014.

Beltre is 6 for 17 (.353) lifetime against him. Castro, batting .385 with three homers and 10 RBIs in a seven-game hit streak, is 7 for 18 versus Gallardo with three extra-base hits.