Rangers go for another win, sweep versus Astros

The Texas Rangers try to continue their mastery of the Houston Astros on Wednesday when the Lone Star State rivals close out a three- game set from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Texas continued its amazing run on Tuesday, as Adrian Beltre clubbed the go- ahead two-run homer in the sixth inning to propel the Rangers to a 4-2 win.

Travis Blackley, who was acquired from Houston in exchange for cash considerations on Aug. 14 after being designated for assignment by the Astros, allowed three hits and two runs over four innings in his Rangers debut.

Neal Cotts (5-2) had three strikeouts in 1 1/3 innings of relief for the AL West leaders, who have won 17 of their last 21 games overall. The Rangers have also beaten the Astros in 13 of the last 14 meetings.

Joe Nathan struck out the side in the ninth to pick up his 37th save.

Jarred Cosart (1-1) gave up more than two runs for the first time in his career. The right-hander, in his seventh major league start, allowed four hits and three runs over six innings.

"I was keeping them off balance," Cosart said. "A couple of guys buckled on curveballs. I threw it for a strike and they couldn't sit on one pitch. That helped me get through six, but Beltre kind of speaks for itself."

Houston's woes could continue on Wednesday, as it goes up against lefty Derek Holland, who'll once again be trying to become the first pitcher to record double-digit wins for the Rangers in three consecutive seasons since Rick Helling did so from 1998-2001.

Holland, though, is winless in his last two starts since improving to 9-6 on Aug. 4. He may not have received a decision on Friday against Seattle, but it was through no fault of his own, as he scattered two hits over seven scoreless innings in his team's 3-1 loss.

"I know they are doing everything they can," Holland said. "That's the way baseball is. You've just got to take the runs when they come. There may be nights when I don't get past the third inning and they score 60 runs."

Houston, meanwhile, will counter with a lefty of its own in Erik Bedard, who has lost his last six decisions. Bedard's most recent setback came on Thursday in Oakland, as he was roughed up to the tune of five runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings, dropping him to 3-9 to go along with a 4.49 ERA.

Bedard is 5-5 lifetime versus the Rangers with a 3.55 ERA in 19 games (18 starts).

Texas is 18-3 in its last 21 against the Astros.