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HOU@OAK: Cosart fans four over six shutout frames

When Rangers starter Travis Blackley toes the rubber for Tuesday night's middle game, he'll go up against some familiar faces playing for Texas' in-state rival.

Blackley was traded by the Astros to the Rangers on Aug. 14, less than a week after designating him for assignment.

The lefty went 1-1 with a 4.89 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 35 innings before Houston's bevy of Minor League callups eased him out the door.

"[Blackley's stuff] was good at some points, and it was not good at other points," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "He's a guy that has a good breaking ball. You look over the years, he was able to get out righties and lefties.

"You look at his numbers from our standpoint with our ballclub, it just got to the point where we had some young guys that we wanted to bring up and we wanted to give those innings to, which made him expendable."

The trade has put the 30-year-old Australian in a whirlwind, from the doldrums of an August in last place to competing for a roster spot on a playoff contender.

"It went from couldn't wait for the season to be over to don't want it to end. It kind of felt like that was a really long Spring Training or something like that," Blackley said. "It was good when you were pitching well, and then you have a couple bad ones in a row, [you] try to pull yourself out of that hole or you don't get put in a game for 10 days. It's tough."

Houston is used to this by now, facing former ace Bud Norris a day after dealing him to Baltimore at the Trade Deadline three weeks ago. Norris beat the Astros that day, but Tuesday night's situation is a bit different.

Blackley hasn't started since contributing to Oakland's torrid run to the postseason last fall, serving as both the A's No. 5 starter and a spot starter from June through October of 2012. Even on a young Astros squad that has shuffled the rotation and actually expanded to a six-man rotation at the beginning of August, Blackley never got the same chance.

"Obviously, it's a great opportunity here and I'm looking forward to being a starter again," Blackley said. "That's what I wanted to do all year and I wouldn't get an opportunity to do it over there, so I'm looking forward to showing them what they missed."

The Rangers rolled to a 16-5 win in the series opener on Monday night, scoring 11 runs in the third inning.

Astros rookie Jarred Cosart awaits in the rematch. The righty has opened his career with a sterling 1.15 ERA through six starts and 39 innings. He's only 1-0, though, since the offense has only provided an average of three runs per game for him.

Astros: Corporan exits after foul tip to mask
Astros catcher Carlos Corporan left Monday night's game against the Rangers with an apparent head injury after getting hit with a foul tip.

The incident occurred in the third inning on the third pitch of Alex Rios' second at-bat. Corporan finished the inning, but was replaced behind the plate by infielder Jake Elmore in the bottom of the fourth. It was Elmore's first Major League appearance at catcher. He played one inning as a catcher in the Minor Leagues in 2010.

Rangers: Berkman not expecting August return
Designated hitter Lance Berkman, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since July 7, said he doesn't expect to be activated until Sept. 1 when the roster is expanded.

Berkman, who is dealing with inflammation in his left hip and a chronic sore right knee, said he is willing to wait that long even though he's ready to be activated now.

"In a perfect world, Sept. 1 would be tomorrow," Berkman said. "But it's not. The situation is a difficult one for the organization. The roster, the way it is configured, doesn't lend itself to a change because it would leave us short in other areas. The best thing for us is to wait until Sept. 1, unless somebody gets hurt."

Worth noting
• Astros manager Bo Porter on not having to face Yu Darvish in this series: "Isn't that great news?" Darvish has twice come within five outs of no-hitting Houston this season, most recently on Aug. 12.

• The Rangers have won six straight and seven of their last eight against the Astros.

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