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TEX@MIN: Tepesch tosses 6 2/3 frames of one-run ball

While Rangers right-hander Nick Tepesch has struggled in his last two starts, posting a 0-2 record with an 8.44 ERA, manager Ron Washington hasn't seen the rookie's confidence waiver.

"I haven't seen anything different in his demeanor, just the results," Washington said. "He just has to get his command back and get his sinker back. If he does that, everything else will fall into place. He's just been a little erratic with his command."

Tepesch will look to get his command back on Sunday as the Rangers go for a sweep of the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

Tepesch looked like a veteran throughout April, going 2-1 with a 2.53 ERA in four starts, two of which were quality outings. It has been the two starts in May that have given him trouble.

Allowing six runs (five earned) on six hits in four innings on Monday against the Cubs, Tepesch struggled to command his fastball, something he's been working on between starts.

"I feel like the last two starts, my fastball command wasn't as good as it has been," Tepesch said. "That's been the big focus. It's the focus all the time, but my command hasn't been there like it should be the past two games."

Meanwhile, Jordan Lyles will be on the hill for the Astros, looking for back-to-back wins in only his third start of the season. The 22-year-old is the second-youngest pitcher to start a game in the American League this season.

Since being called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City, Lyles has given up five runs (four earned) on 10 hits in 10 innings.

On Tuesday against the Angels, he allowed three runs on four hits in five innings. He also struck out six and walked two, retiring 14 of the final 17 batters he faced.

"I threw the ball a little bit better tonight than I did in my last outing," Lyles said after the game. "I was able to put up some zeros against a pretty good offense."

Rangers: Chirinos to catch Tepesch
• Robinson Chirinos, called up on Friday from Triple-A Round Rock, will catch Tepesch for the first time this season.

Acquired from the Rays on April 8, Chirinos was called up after A.J. Pierzynski went on the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle in his right ribcage. He replaces Geovany Soto, who has started five straight games.

"We can talk and get together before the game and make sure we are on the same page," Chirinos said. "Everybody has been open to talking to me about what they have and what is their best pitch. They're making it easy for me. At the end of the day, you go out and compete and try to win the game."

Astros: Grossman to stay in center field
• Manager Bo Porter remains committed to giving more at-bats to rookie center fielder Robbie Grossman, who has started 15 of the team's past 17 games in center field. Grossman is hitting .194, but has hit safely in 10 of his previous 12 games.

"We're going to continue to give him an opportunity to play," Porter said. "That's why he's here, and he's going to continue to get that opportunity until we decide to make a different decision."

Grossman was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City on April 24 after he hit .324 with a .452 on-base percentage in 19 games.

"He definitely works the count and he's hit several balls on the nose," Porter said. "From an average standpoint, he may not have anything to show for it, but every time you look around, he's squaring the ball up and somebody's making a diving play or a great play. He has tremendous at-bats and he's done a lot of good things since he's been here."

Worth noting
• Astros outfielder Justin Maxwell, who's been on the disabled list since April 24 with a fractured left hand, won't travel with the team to Detroit and Pittsburgh next week. He plans to stay in Houston to work out with Matt Holland, a sports rehabilitation specialist at the Methodist Hospital in Houston.

• Rangers starter Colby Lewis pitched two innings in his first start on medical rehabilitation assignment Thursday night for Triple-A Round Rock and has developed some soreness in his right triceps muscle. Lewis did not throw a scheduled bullpen session on Saturday, although he did play catch.

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