Texas Rangers (52-81) at Houston Astros (57-78), 8:10 p.m. (ET)
(SportsNetwork.com) - With his first victory in over three years as a starter out of the way, Texas' Scott Baker makes a second straight start on Friday evening in the second contest of a four-game set with the Houston Astros.
Baker is 2-3 with a 5.45 earned run average in 22 games this season, including five starts. He stepped into the rotation on Sunday versus Kansas City and hurled his club to a 3-1 win, giving up a run on five hits and a walk over five innings of work.
It was the 32-year-old's first trip to the mound since a two-inning relief appearance on Aug. 12 and it earned Baker his first victory as a starter since July 23, 2011. He spent time with three different teams and underwent Tommy John surgery in between the victories.
"We had all the confidence in the world that he would go out there and pitch his game and give us a chance," said Rangers manager Ron Washington of Baker on Texas' website. "He certainly went beyond the call of duty to have not been out there in 11 days and throw strikes the way he threw them and move the ball the way he did."
In six relief appearances and one start since the All-Star break, Baker is 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA. The right-hander has faced the Astros three times this season in relief, allowing four runs over 5 1/3 innings without a decision.
Left-hander Brett Oberholtzer will try to snap a four-start winless streak in his outing tonight for the Astros and is coming off his second loss during that span.
Oberholtzer was bested 3-1 at Cleveland on Sunday as he allowed three runs on 10 hits over 6 2/3 innings. The 25-year-old struck out six and did not walk a batter.
He fell to 4-9 with a 4.01 ERA on the year and is 0-2 lifetime versus the Rangers with a 2.25 ERA in four meetings (3 starts).
Houston won the opener of this series 4-2 on Thursday thanks to Jason Castro's fifth-inning grand slam.
With one out in the fifth and Houston trailing by two, Jose Altuve singled, Chris Carter walked and Dexter Fowler singled to load the bases. Roman Mendez, who came on for Texas starter Nick Tepesch after the walk to Carter, served up Castro's slam to right and the Astros took a 4-2 lead.
"(Castro) to come up with a big hit there was not only good for the team, it was good for him," Astros manager Bo Porter said.
Roman Mendez took the loss, charged with two of the runs, while Tepesch was charged with the other two after lasting just 4 1/3 innings.
"Long innings, no clean innings," Tepesch said. "A lot of pitches per innings. It's tough to pitch deep into the game throwing so many pitches."
Collin McHugh yielded two runs on eight hits and struck out six over seven innings to get the win for the Astros.
Houston has won nine of 13 versus Texas this season.