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Rangers Look To Take Series From Astros

(Sports Network) - The Texas Rangers have expressed interest in acquiring Roy Oswalt and they will get a good look at the Houston Astros' ace tonight, as the Lone Star State rivals conclude a three-game set at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Behind their potent offense, the Rangers have been one of the hottest teams around and they have publicly acknowledged their interest in acquiring Oswalt to head a staff that is in need of a proven pitcher.

A move would be exactly what Oswalt needs, as he is just 5-9 despite a 3.08 ERA for a Houston club that is well below .500. The veteran right-hander has been a model of consistency of late, surrendering two runs over seven innings in each of his past three starts. He won two of those three starts, while suffering a 3-1 loss to San Francisco and Tim Lincecum this past Tuesday.

Another good reason for Oswalt to join the Rangers is that he is 0-4 with a 4.81 ERA in five outings against them since his last victory on June 24th, 2005. Overall, Oswalt has made 11 career starts against Texas, boasting a 4-5 record and a 3.99 ERA.

Countering for Texas will be Tommy Hunter, who has been terrific since making his season debut in the rotation earlier this month. The right-hander has won three of his four starts with the lone exception coming against Florida on June 16, when he left early with an injury. On Tuesday, Hunter yielded three runs -- two earned -- and nine hits over six innings of a 6-3 win over Pittsburgh.

Hunter is making his first career appearance against Houston and he is hoping the Rangers' bats will continue to provide support like they did in Saturday's 7-2 win.

Ian Kinsler finished with two hits including a three-run homer as Texas got back on the winning track with the triumph over Houston in the middle test of a three-game interleague set.

Nelson Cruz was 3-for-5 with a triple for the Rangers, who had their 11-game win streak halted with a loss in the series opener on Friday. Elvis Andrus added two RBI and Vladimir Guerrero had two hits and knocked in a run.

C.J. Wilson (6-3) worked seven innings in the win, allowing five hits and two runs for Texas, which has won 15 of its last 17 contests.

"We want to be a team that people just don't want to play," Wilson said about Texas, which has been a force to be reckoned with at home during its run of success. "Nobody wants to play us here. That's why we have such a good home record. Bouncing back is all mental and everyone on the team stepped up today."

Jason Michaels went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer for the Astros, whose three- game win streak was halted.

Josh Banks (0-1) was charged in defeat for eight hits and six runs with four walks over four-plus innings. He was pressed into service for injured starter Felipe Paulino and recalled from Triple-A Round Rock on Saturday.

"I just wasn't able to get ahead and locate like I normally do," Banks said of his performance. "I'm not going to overpower the other team so I need to make them hit my pitch. I've gotta work on that so it'll be there next time."

The Astros have lost nine of their last 11 to the Rangers.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.