The Houston Astros are sliding in the wrong direction as they enter the middle contest of their three-game set against the host Texas Rangers on Saturday. Houston's 6-4 loss in the series opener was its fourth in a row and 10th in 13 games, and its lead for the best record in the American League is just six games over Boston.

The Astros have been outscored 24-12 during their four-game skid, which began with three straight losses to the lowly Chicago White Sox. George Springer belted his 28th homer on Friday but first since July 7, missing 13 games during the drought with a quadriceps injury. Texas has won consecutive games but still is four below .500 and three off the pace in the race for the AL's second wild-card spot. Elvis Andrus went 3-for-4 and scored three runs in the opener for his fourth three-hit performance in the last eight games.

TV:
8:05 p.m. ET, AT&T SportsNet-Southwest (Houston), FSN Southwest (Texas)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros RH Mike Fiers (7-6, 4.06 ERA) vs. Rangers RH Tyson Ross (2-2, 7.52)

Fiers allowed five runs - four earned - and four hits in six innings of a no-decision against Toronto on Sunday after losing his previous two decisions. The 32-year-old is 5-2 with a 4.50 ERA in 11 road outings this season. Fiers is 0-1 with a 6.56 ERA in four career appearances (three starts) against the Rangers, including a no-decision earlier this season in which he gave up five runs and seven hits over six frames.

Ross is slated to be activated from the disabled list to make his first start since July 23. The 30-year-old has been dealing with a blister on his right index finger but appeared ready to return in his last rehab outing, when he allowed one run and four hits over seven innings for Double-A Frisco. Ross lost his lone career start against the Astros as he allowed four runs and five hits over five frames in 2015 while with San Diego.

WALK-OFFS

1. Rangers 1B Joey Gallo was hitless in four at-bats on Friday after homering in each of his previous three games.

2. Houston C Brian McCann is just 3-for-33 over his last nine contests.

3. Texas 2B Rougned Odor is only 2-for-27 over his last eight games.

PREDICTION: Rangers 14, Astros 6