Mike Fiers was needed out of the bullpen in his latest outing for the Houston Astros, but in his next he will return to his normal rotation spot to try and snap their losing streak against the Texas Rangers.
Fiers hopes to end the Astros' four-game skid against the Rangers while settling his roller coaster ride of a season at Minute Maid Park on Saturday night.
Texas (23-19) swept Houston (17-26) at Arlington Park from April 19-21, and the Rangers took Monday's opener 2-1 for their fourth straight win in this series. The Astros were held to one run for the second straight game.
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''We're trying to go out there put the ball in play and hit the ball hard,'' Houston shortstop Carlos Correa said. ''We've been doing that lately with no luck, but I feel like we will turn it around.''
Meanwhile, Prince Fielder supplied the offense for Texas, hitting a two-run double in the third inning. Fielder continued to crush the Astros, moving his batting average to .368 with 26 RBIs in his last 26 games against them.
But while Fielder came through, Shin-soo Choo was injured early in his return from the disabled list. Choo spent about six weeks on the DL with a strained right calf and was taken out of Friday's game with a tight left hamstring.
It is unclear if Choo will be available for Saturday.
Fiers (3-1, 4.63 ERA) has been up and down this season and was needed in relief Sunday when he tossed four innings and allowed six hits and two runs in a 10-9 defeat at Boston.
The right-hander threw seven solid innings in two of his previous three starts, but he has given up at least four runs. He was not nearly as effective in his only career outing against Texas.
In a 12-9 loss on Aug. 3, Fiers coughed up seven hits and six runs in five innings while walking three and striking out six. Adrian Beltre went 2 for 3 and homered off Fiers in that game.
The Rangers will counter with Cesar Ramos (0-2, 4.32), who has replaced A.J. Griffin in the fifth spot of Texas' rotation and will make his third start.
The left-hander held Toronto to just one run on seven hits in Sunday's 7-6 win, though he lasted only 4 1/3 innings.
Ramos pitched well but was pulled after loading the bases with one out in the fifth. His performance was lost in a game that featured a brawl ignited by a punch thrown from Rougned Odor to the Blue Jays' Jose Bautista.
Ramos has faced the Astros often in his career, though all 10 appearances came out of the bullpen - including eight in Houston. He has given up just seven hits and two earned runs in 12 1/3 innings overall, walking two and striking out 11.
Colby Rasmus is the only hitter with much success against Ramos, going 3 for 7 with a pair of walks.