Rangers-Astros Preview

Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish has looked more like his usual self since a miserable showing against the Houston Astros a month ago.

The right-hander will try for a better performance in Saturday night’s rematch with Houston and help the Rangers end a six-game skid to their AL West rivals.

Darvish (10-6, 2.82 ERA) has gone 2-1 with a 2.16 ERA in his four games since an 8-4 home loss to Houston on July 9. He was charged with six runs and a season-high 10 hits in six innings after going 4-1 with a 2.29 ERA in his first seven matchups.

Darvish retired the first 15 batters and gave up one hit in eight innings in a 1-0, 12-inning win over the Astros on April 11.

He allowed one run and four hits in seven innings Sunday in Cleveland but Neftali Feliz gave up a tying two-run homer in the ninth in a 4-3 loss in 12 innings.

"It’s very disappointing that the team lost but there will be days like that," Darvish told the MLB’s official website. "No pitcher has a 0.00 ERA."

The Rangers’ bullpen faltered again in Friday’s series opener with Neal Cotts yielding three runs in the eighth in a 4-3 loss. Robbie Grossman hit a two-run homer off the left-hander and Gregorio Petit had a two-out RBI double.

Petit was put in the game in the sixth inning after Jose Altuve was forced to leave with discomfort in his neck. Altuve, second in the AL with a .333 average and the major league leader with 158 hits, said he expects to be in the lineup Saturday.

Texas (45-70) had won back-to-back road games before its 35th loss in 45 contests. The Rangers have dropped 21 of 26 away from home.

The Astros (48-68), 2 1/2 games ahead of their last-place rivals in the division, snapped a three-game skid with a season high-tying fourth consecutive home win. They haven’t won five straight at Minute Maid Park since a six-game win streak April 22-May 5, 2012.

Scott Feldman (5-8, 4.13) will try to secure that in his fifth start against his former club. The right-hander played his first eight seasons with the Rangers from 2005-12 and is 1-1 with a 4.07 ERA against his old team.

He’s had two contrasting outings against Texas this season and didn’t receive a decision in either. Feldman gave up four runs and 10 hits in five innings in a 5-4 home win May 14, and tossed seven scoreless innings of two-hit ball while pitching opposite Darvish on April 11.

He’s 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA in his last two starts and registered his first complete game this season Sunday in a 6-1 win against Toronto. Feldman scattered eight hits and walked two in his first victory in six outings.

"Towards the end, I started getting some confidence like I could repeat my delivery," he said. "It’s been awhile since I’ve thrown nine innings, so it was good to get that out of the way."

Adrian Beltre has four hits in his last eight at-bats against Feldman but the AL’s fifth-leading batter (.319) is 4 for 22 (.182) in his last six games.