Still looking for his first career win, rookie Tony Mounce looks to build on consecutive solid starts when the Texas Rangers continue their Lone Star Series with the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.
Mounce, a 28-year-old left-hander, was pounded for five runs and nine hits over 4 1-3 innings of an 8-0 loss to Florida in his major league debut on June 13. He has surrendered only one run and eight hits over 10 2-3 innings in his last two outings, but did not receive a decision in either start.
On Monday, Mounce held Oakland to four hits over five scoreless innings, but the Rangers lost 3-1 loss when closer Ugueth Urbina gave up three runs in the ninth.
Mounce walked five and struck out four, working his way in and out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth before being pulled after 105 pitches. Despite the impressive performance, he was unwilling to accept praise.
“We didn’t win, so how can it be (a good outing) ?” Mounce said afterwards. “That’s something we have to take and build on. Hopefully it will turn around soon.”
The Rangers, who lost three straight to the Astros at home last weekend, posted a 10-7 win in Friday’s series opener. Rafael Palmeiro homered and drove in four runs and Einar Diaz went 3-for-5 with three RBIs as Texas improved to 3-1 since an eight-game losing streak.
Matranga’s homer came in his first career at-bat, making him the 86th player in big league history to accomplish the feat.
STANDINGS: Rangers - 4th place, 21 1/2 GB, AL West. Astros - 3rd place, 1/2 GB, NL Central.
RANGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Mounce (0-1, 3.60 ERA). Mounce was 7-3 with a 2.55 ERA in 12 minor league appearances this season. Signed as a free agent on May 1, 2000, Mounced missed all of the 2001 season after having “Tommy John” elbow surgery.
ASTROS PROBABLE STARTER: Jeriome Robertson (5-3, 5.72 ERA). Robertson is 4-0 in 10 starts since a 10-2 loss at Montreal on April 25. The left-hander allowed one run and four hits over 5 1-3 solid innings in a 3-1 victory over the Rangers last Sunday. He overcame a season-high five walks to post his fourth win in seven outings.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Rangers - Hank Blalock, .336 avg.; Alex Rodriguez, 19 HRs and 7 SBs; Palmeiro and Carl Everett, 51 RBIs; Carl Everett, 53 runs. Astros - Jeff Kent, .313 avg. and 50 RBIs; Bagwell and Berkman, 14 HRs; Craig Biggio, 50 runs; Adam Everett, 6 SBs.
INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Rangers - 3-13. Astros - 10-6.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Rangers - OF Juan Gonzalez, who rejected a deal to Montreal on Friday, walked as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning—his first appearance since the Rangers agreed to the trade on Tuesday. … 1B Palmeiro is within one homer of Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa (509) for 17th place on the career list. … The Rangers snapped a 12-game road losing streak with Friday’s win. They had not won away from home since May 29 at Baltimore. Astros - INF Matranga became the second Astros player to homer in his first major league at-bat. Jose Sosa was the first on July 30, 1975 against San Diego. … The Astros placed 2B Kent, who hasn’t played in a week, on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his left wrist, retroactive to June 19, on Friday. … Houston has lost three in a row at home.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rangers - 12-25 on the road. Astros - 23-15 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.
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