Houston (24-18) at Texas (20-22)

Sunny Currently: Arlington, TX
Temp: 91° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Fri May 16, 2008
  • TV: FSSW, FSSW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The majority of Shawn Chacon’s interleague appearances have been in relief, which has limited his chances of receiving decisions. Eight starts this season, however, haven’t helped him pick up any.

Chacon can break the major league record for consecutive no-decisions to start a season when he takes the mound for the Houston Astros in the opener of a three-game interleague series with the intrastate rival Texas Rangers on Friday night.

Houston (24-18) has won 18 of its last 24 and Chacon (0-0, 3.53 ERA) has been a big part of that run, but the nine-year veteran has yet to receive a win or a loss. He has joined left-hander Dick Stigman of the 1965 Minnesota Twins as the only pitchers to have no-decisions in their first eight starts of a season.

Chacon has given up three runs or less in six of his starts this season, but he is 5-7 with a 7.26 ERA in 11 starts and 14 relief appearances in interleague play. He received seven of those decisions as a starter, and 14 of his last 17 interleague appearances were in relief.

The right-hander, in his first season with the Astros, is 4-0 with a 5.16 ERA in four starts and two relief appearances against the Rangers.

In his last start this season, Chacon gave up two runs and seven hits in six innings as Houston beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-5 on Sunday.

The Astros weren’t able to score early enough to help Chacon get a win. They scored a National League-best 98 runs in interleague play last season en route to splitting 18 games, and have a good chance to keep that run going in 2008 if Lance Berkman continues his tear.

Berkman hit his major league-leading 15th home run to break a ninth-inning tie, helping Houston rally past San Francisco 8-7 on Thursday for its 11th win in 13 games.

He also hit a two-run single and has a 14-game hitting streak. He went 7-for-15 (.467) with three homers and seven RBIs to help the Astros win three of four against the Giants.

Berkman helped Houston rebounded from a 6-0 deficit Thursday, giving it 13 come-from-behind wins this year.

“I don’t know. It’s just amazing,” Astros manager Cecil Cooper said. “I’m hanging along for the ride. They keep doing it. They don’t quit.”

Berkman now has an NL-leading 43 RBIs—one shy of Texas’ Josh Hamilton for the major-league lead. It has been an impressive start to Hamilton’s first season with the Rangers, and he is three RBIs shy of his total last season when he played 90 games with Cincinnati.

Texas will start Sidney Ponson (2-0, 3.16 ERA), who gave up six runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings in a 12-6 loss to Oakland on Sunday. The right-hander allowed just one earned run in each of his first three starts with the Rangers (20-22).

Ponson has a 2.08 ERA in two starts against Houston, but was the losing pitcher in both of those contests.

His last start aside, Ponson has helped Texas bounce back from the worst April in team history. Three weeks ago, the Rangers returned home from a road trip with a seven-game losing streak and the major league’s worst record.

Since then, though, Texas has won six straight series for the first time since 1999, the season of its last AL West title. The Rangers are 13-6 in that span.

“We got back on the same page,” Texas four-time All-Star shortstop Michael Young said. “We felt like we were about to go on a run and start playing like a team. I think we’ve done that.”

The Rangers lost 4-3 to Seattle on Wednesday, but scored a total of 18 runs to win the first two games of that series. Texas led the American League with 30 home runs in interleague play last season, going 11-7.

The Astros are 22-20 all-time against the Rangers.

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Starting Pitchers

S. Chacon Oak vs. S. Ponson KC
2-3 Record 8-5
5.04 ERA 5.04
53 K 58
41 BB 48
1.51 WHIP 1.61

Scoreboard

Friday, May 16