(Sports Network) - Alexi Ogando returns to the rotation on Wednesday when the Texas Rangers play the rubber match of their season-opening three-game series against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.
Ogando won 13 games as a starter in 2011 and was named to the American League All-Star team. However, manager Ron Washington moved him back to the bullpen last season and he was 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA.
The 29-year-old right-hander has normally gotten off to a quick start, as he is 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his career in April, his lowest ERA for any month.
"I think he has a feel for what it is to start," Texas skipper Ron Washington said. "He knows the preparation and dedication it takes. He's experienced the grind and understands what he needs to do to maintain himself."
Ogando will be trying to match Yu Darvish's near perfect performance from Tuesday. Darvish didn't allow a baserunner through 8 2/3 innings in Texas' 7-0 win.
The Japanese hurler seemed unstoppable and was one out away from perfection when Marwin Gonzalez hit a ground ball between his legs and into center field for a single. Darvish was then replaced by Michael Kirkman, and despite not getting to finish the game, recorded an impressive 14 strikeouts.
"I think my teammates were more disappointed than I was," Darvish said through a translator.
Ian Kinsler hit a two-run home run for the Rangers, who recorded 12 hits. Lance Berkman had two RBI while Nelson Cruz, Elvis Andrus and Mitch Moreland knocked in a run apiece in the victory, Texas' first of the season.
Berkman is 5-for-8 through the first two games of this series and the former Astro now has a 14-game hitting streak at Minute Maid Park, during which he is hitting .491 with six homers and 22 RBI.
Gonzalez and Jose Altuve were the only two to record hits for the Astros, who saw starter Lucas Harrell (0-1) allow one run on six hits over six innings.
Going for Houston on Wednesday will be righty Philip Humber, who bounced back and forth between the bullpen and rotation last season for the Chicago White Sox, going 5-5 with a 6.44 ERA in 26 games (16 starts).
However, Humber, who pitched collegiately for Rice University, became the 21st hurler to toss a perfect game after retiring all 27 Seattle Mariners hitters in a 4-0 victory at Safeco Field on Apr. 21.
Texas has dominated the Astros over the past four years, winning 20 of the 26 matchups.