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Sat, Jun 16, 2012 - 7:15 PM ET
 

Astros-Rangers Preview

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The Texas Rangers will see plenty more of the Houston Astros in the coming years after their intrastate rivals move to the AL West in 2013.

Judging by how well the meetings have gone for the Rangers in recent seasons, they're likely looking forward to it.

Texas seeks another victory in the Lone Star Series when it continues a three-game home set against Houston on Saturday night.

The Rangers have won 17 of the last 22 meetings with the Astros following Friday's 6-2, series-opening victory. This weekend marks the final interleague series between the teams, as Houston will shift from the NL Central next year in order to balance the two leagues.

AL West-leading Texas (38-27) started the weekend on a high note despite missing Josh Hamilton, who was hospitalized for dehydration caused by an intestinal virus.

Mitch Moreland homered and Elvis Andrus went 3 for 4. David Murphy drove in two runs for the third straight game, going 6 for 11 in that stretch.

"It was a really good win," Murphy told the Rangers' official website. "We took advantage of the mistakes and we had some consecutively big at-bats up there and got things rolling."

Manager Ron Washington said he doesn't expect Hamilton to play Saturday, when the offense looks to provide some run support for Justin Grimm in his major league debut.

The Rangers' fifth-round pick in 2010, Grimm is being promoted from Double-A Frisco to help replace injured starters Alexi Ogando and Derek Holland.

The 23-year-old right-hander was 8-3 with a Texas League-best 1.87 ERA in 13 starts and one relief appearance.

"In my opinion, I'm a power pitcher," Grimm said. "I've got a good fastball. It's my go-to pitch. I've been able to command it really well lately. I'm still continuing to develop a changeup, but it comes sometimes and goes. Hopefully Saturday, it's something that I have. I'm definitely going to need it."

The Astros (27-37) will look to take advantage of Grimm's inexperience in order to avoid a fourth loss in five games. Houston has had eight or fewer hits in each of its last four contests, including a perfect game by San Francisco's Matt Cain on Wednesday.

Manager Brad Mills would like to see more aggressiveness at the plate.

"There's some extra steps we're going to look at and talk to a few guys about a few things, but at the same time, if the balls are outside the zone, we don't want to become chasers, either," Mills told the Astros' official website.

Lucas Harrell (6-4, 4.83 ERA) will take the mound Saturday for Houston seeking his fifth win in six starts, though he hasn't pitched particularly well lately.

The right-hander is 4-1 despite a 5.46 ERA over his last five starts, He allowed five runs in 7 1-3 innings Sunday, but got credit for an 11-9 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

Harrell gave up four runs - three of them unearned - in 5 2-3 innings of a 6-5 win over the Rangers on May 19, his only career start against them.

Tagged: Rangers, Astros

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