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HOU@BAL: Feldman allows two runs, fans six over six

Scott Feldman will be facing his former team again when he pitches for the Astros against the Rangers on Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park.

It will be his second start since coming off the disabled list on Friday. He had been sidelined since April 18 with biceps tendinitis before allowing two runs in six innings against the Orioles.

"It was back to normal with a normal bounce back, so all those issues are gone," Feldman said.

After the Astros' 8-0 victory on Tuesday night behind Dallas Keuchel's first career shutout, Houston has a chance to win their first series against Texas since June 2008.

One of the former teammates Feldman will face in that pursuit is Mitch Moreland, the Rangers' left-handed-hitting designated hitter who also has been playing the outfield and first base on occasion. Moreland is 2-for-7 against Feldman.

"We have faced ex-teammates before," Moreland said. "It was great to have him here. He was a great teammate and a good friend. You've always got that, but once you get in the game, it's still competitive. You want to go out and beat him."

Moreland will be back in the lineup on Wednesday after sitting on Tuesday with a left-hander starting for the Astros. Moreland, who starts almost exclusively against right-handers, has made 19 starts at designated hitter, two in left field and two at first base. Manager Ron Washington said he would like to get Moreland more starts in the field and may consider using him at first base on Wednesday, with Prince Fielder starting at designated hitter.

"I'd like to get out there and play the field a little bit," Moreland said. "I try to be ready for anything and everything. If I did get that opportunity, I would welcome it."

Feldman is 1-1 with a 3.26 ERA in three starts against the Rangers. He threw seven scoreless innings against them on April 11 in a duel with Yu Darvish that the Rangers won, 1-0, in 12 innings.

"They're a good team," Feldman said. "They're in our division, so all the teams in the division we're going to have to pitch against them four times, maybe more. They're pretty good. They've got some guys that can do some damage, especially now that Beltre is back there. Usually, if you just keep the ball down with those power hitters, you can limit the damage a little bit."

Feldman signed a three-year deal with the Astros in the offseason, so this should be one of many encounters with the Rangers over the next few seasons. He still has a long ways to go to match former Rangers pitchers and how they did against their ex-team after leaving Texas.

Jamie Moyer has the most starts and wins by a former Rangers pitcher against Texas. He was 14-8 with a 4.94 ERA in 34 career starts and three relief appearances against the Rangers after pitching for them in 1989-90.

Dave Stewart was 12-8 with a 3.50 ERA in 27 starts and one relief appearance against the Rangers after they cut him loose in 1985. Bert Blyleven made 37 career starts against the Rangers and 21 came after pitching for them in 1976-77. He was 11-7 with a 3.93 ERA in those 21 starts. Frank Tanana is the only other pitcher who made at least 20 starts against the Rangers after leaving. He was 8-6 with a 4.91 ERA against the Rangers after leaving Texas.

Rangers: Molina helping Chirinos
The Rangers hired Bengie Molina as their first-base coach and also to instruct their catchers. Robinson Chirinos appears to have benefitted greatly from working with Molina.

Chirinos went into Tuesday's game against the Astros having thrown out 45 percent of attempted basestealers, the highest success rate among catchers in the American League.

"We worked on his footwork and his throwing technique," Molina said. "He is a former infielder, so he already had good hands and a quick release. I didn't have to do too much. He was already pretty good. We've worked a lot on calling the game, working with pitchers and game situations."

Astros: Porter trying to place Springer
Manager Bo Porter is still trying to find the best position to put rookie George Springer in the starting lineup. He had him back in the No. 2 spot on Tuesday for the first time since April 17. Springer had batted sixth in the previous nine games.

Porter wouldn't commit to keeping Springer in the two-hole long term. After all, starting catcher Jason Castro was out of the lineup because the Astros were facing a lefty, so that opened up a spot at the top of the order. Plus, Porter is hoping Springer will see more fastballs.

"He's been getting steady diet of breaking stuff," Porter said. "Part of the reason he hit second early in the year was to try to put some speed in front of him and behind him. Having [Jose] Altuve, who's arguably our best basestealer, in front of him, hopefully we can buy him a few more fastballs."

Springer is striking out once every 2.67 plate appearances, the highest ratio on the team.

Worth noting
• The Rangers have to make a roster move before Wednesday's game to add Nick Tepesch off the disabled list. They most likely will put pitcher Martin Perez on the DL, but Matt Harrison left Tuesday's game with a stiff back and will head to Dallas Wednesday to be examined, making the issue more complex.

• With a right-hander on the mound for the Rangers, Marc Krauss will be back at first base and Alex Presley will be in left field for the Astros on Wednesday. Jesus Guzman started at first and L.J. Hoes was in left on Tuesday against left-hander Matt Harrison. Castro will also be catching after getting a day off on Tuesday.

• Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo went into Tuesday's game having hit safely in 12 straight road games.

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