Texas (37-34) at Houston (32-39)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 88° F
  • Game info: 4:05 pm EDT Sat Jun 25, 2005
  • TV: FOX
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Rookie Chris Young looks to rebound from his worst start of the season when the slumping Texas Rangers continue their Lone Star series with the surging Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

Texas lost the opener of the second installment of the annual series for Texas bragging right 4-0 on Friday night for its fourth straight defeat.

Young hadn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any of his previous 10 outings before yielding five and 10 hits over five innings in a 5-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Monday.

Despite the loss, the 28-year-old right-hander’s 3.16 ERA heading into this weekend was fifth-best in the American League.

“There’s only one way to really gain experience, and that’s to go through it. That’s what I’m going through right now,” Young said.

“There’s going to be ups, going to be downs. I need to learn from both of them. I’ve learned from every start that I’ve had.”

The Rangers, who suffered a three-game sweep to the AL West-leading Angels, have lost nine of their last 10 games away from home.

The third-highest scoring team in the majors, Texas has managed only 11 runs in losing the first five games of its road trip. Six of those runs came in Tuesday’s loss to the Angels.

“We need a shot in the arm. We’re just not getting it done offensively,” Rangers shortstop Michael Young said. “Everyone fell into a rut at the same time. That seems to be what happens when a team goes into a slump.”

Houston won its fourth straight and eighth in a row at home as rookie outfielder Chris Burke went 3-for-3. Brad Ausmus went 2-for-2 with an RBI and two walks and Brad Lidge got the final three outs for his 18th save in 21 chances.

The Astros will send struggling Brandon Backe to the mound Saturday, hoping the right-hander can overcome his recent woes.

Backe has lost back-to-back starts for the first time this season, allowing 12 runs, 15 hits and seven walks over just 9 2-3 innings.

“He was not making his pitches,” said manager Phil Garner after Backe’s performance in last Sunday’s 7-1 loss at Kansas City.

“Walks have been a problem. It looked like he ironed that out and then ran into some trouble. He got better in the middle part of the game, but he was never really in any groove today that I thought he was comfortable.”

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Starting Pitchers

C. Young KC vs. B. Backe Hou
12-7 Record 10-8
4.26 ERA 4.76
137 K 97
45 BB 67
1.26 WHIP 1.46