Having already captured the Lone Star Series, the Houston Astros will try to wrap up interleague play on a positive note as they host the Texas Rangers in the finale of their weekend series at Minute Maid Park.
The Astros won 2-0 decision Saturday to claim the Silver Boot, which goes to the winner of the annual series between the intrastate rivals. Houston defeated Texas for the fourth time in five meetings this season in improving to 11-6 against American League opponents in 2003.
The Astros also snapped a season high-tying four-game losing streak, with the bullpen getting a chance to redeem itself after being roughed up in a 10-7 loss Friday night. Brad Lidge pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh Saturday, and Octavio Dotel and closer Billy Wagner each pitched a perfect inning to finish it off.
“I told them I was going to pitch, I was embarrassed about last night,” Wagner said. “I stunk. I mean, they’ve got good hitters, but I didn’t show them much last night. I felt like I threw 110 pitches last night. It was not one of my shining moments.
“I felt much better today.”
Adam Everett went 1-for-3 with an RBI for Houston. The shortstop is batting .387 (12-for-31) over his last nine games with two homers and five RBIs.
Texas has lost 10 of its last 13.
Ramos, a 25-year-old left-hander, allowed two earned runs and four hits in six innings.
STANDINGS: Rangers - 4th place, 22 1/2 GB, AL West. Astros - 2nd place, 1/2 GB, NL Central.
RANGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Mario Ramos (1-1, 5.59 ERA). Ramos makes his third major league start after being recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma on June 20.
ASTROS PROBABLE STARTER: Ron Villone (0-0, 1.46 ERA). The left-hander has allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his two starts this season, but has yet to receive a decision. The Astros have lost both, including Monday’s 7-6 setback at Arizona. He gave up two earned runs and two hits over six innings. Villone, an eight-year veteran, is making his first start against the Rangers. He is 0-0 with a 3.57 ERA in 14 games.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Rangers - Hank Blalock, .335 avg.; Alex Rodriguez, 19 HRs and 7 SBs; Rafael Palmeiro and Carl Everett, 51 RBIs; Carl Everett, 53 runs. Astros - Richard Hidalgo, .318 avg.; Jeff Kent, 50 RBIs; Jeff Bagwell, Morgan Ensberg and Lance Berkman, 14 HRs; Berkman, 54 runs; Adam Everett, 6 SBs.
INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Rangers - 3-14. Astros - 11-6.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Rangers - LHP Ramos became the second Texas pitcher this season to earn his first big league victory. The other was RHP R.A. Dickey, the team’s 1996 first-round draft pick, in a relief role against Boston on April 24. … OF Juan Gonzalez went 2-for-4 in his first start since Texas agreed to trade him to Montreal on Tuesday. The slugger rejected the deal Friday, exercising a no-trade clause in his contract. … 3B Mark Teixiera was a late scratch with stiffness in his lower back. Sadler moved from center field to third and Carl Everett started in center. Astros - Saturday was Houston’s second shutout this year. The other came when a record six pitchers combined on a no-hitter in an 8-0 victory over the New York Yankees on June 11. … The Astros called up LHP Mike Gallo from Triple-A New Orleans and optioned LHP Nate Bland to the Zephyrs. … The Astros are 57-46 all-time against the Rangers since interleague play began in 1997.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rangers - 12-26 on the road. Astros - 24-15 at home.
INJURIES: Rangers - INF Herbert Perry (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Chan Ho Park (oblique), 15-day DL; RHP Jeff Zimmerman (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Rusty Greer (neck), 60-day DL. Astros - 2B Kent (wrist), 15-day DL; LHP Carlos Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Brian Moehler (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Roy Oswalt (groin), 15-day DL; 2B Jose Vizcaino (wrist), 15-day DL.