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Astros, Philles meet in opener of important three-game set

Sep 25, 2006 - 2:01 PM Houston (77-78) at Philadelphia (82-73) 7:05 pm EDT

PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) - The Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies picked the best time to get on a hot streak.

The Astros and Phillies, winners of five straight each, meet in the opening game of a three-game series on Monday.

Houston, which trails the St. Louis Cardinals by 3 1/2 games in the National League Central, sends untested Chris Sampson (1-0, 2.66 ERA) to the mound.

Sampson will be making his second career start and first since June 7.

The righthander, who has worked out of the bullpen in his last seven appearances, will attempt to follow up on a dazzling first start, when he yielded three hits over seven innings in a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs more than three months ago.

The Phillies, who lead the Los Angeles Dodgers by one-half game in the NL wild card, counter with Randy Wolf (4-0, 5.47).

Wolf is 4-0 in his last seven starts despite an unimpressive 5.55 ERA.

Chase Utley hit two homers and drove in four runs to help lead the Phillies to a 10-7 victory over the Florida Marlins on Sunday.

Houston enters the opener fresh off a 7-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday. Aubrey Huff smacked a three-run homer and Roger Clemens struck out six in his final home start.

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