Final
  for this game

Pirates-Astros Preview

Jul 7, 2009 - 5:32 AM By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN STATS Senior Writer

Pittsburgh (37-45) at Houston (39-41), 8:05 p.m. EDT

Once again, the Houston Astros have a chance to reach .500 for the first time since the second game of the season.

The Astros can get back to the break-even point Tuesday night when they continue a three-game home set against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Houston (40-41) is halfway through its season with a record two games better than at the same point during its 86-win effort in 2008. The Astros have won eight of 12 and are 3 1/2 games behind first-place St. Louis in the NL Central.

Since the first week of the season, Houston has had one other opportunity to reach .500, losing 13-0 at San Francisco on Friday.

Miguel Tejada had two doubles and two RBIs in Monday's 4-1 victory after being named to the All-Star team the day before. Tejada is 18 for 37 (.486) with eight doubles against Pittsburgh this year.

"(Tejada) has been really consistent all year," manager Cecil Cooper told the Astros' official Web site. "I don't think he has gone more than a couple ball games without getting big hits for us, and tonight he did it again."

The Pirates are 3-7 versus the Astros and 11-24 against NL Central foes. Robinzon Diaz's RBI single in the seventh inning was all Pittsburgh could muster Monday in its third straight loss.

Pirates All-Star second baseman Freddy Sanchez missed his fourth consecutive start with back spasms and is listed as day to day. Manager John Russell said Sanchez did not take any swings when the team took early batting practice and he may not be available for this series.

The Astros have won four straight starts by Brian Moehler (5-4, 5.64 ERA), who is 3-0 with a 3.13 ERA in that span. He yielded one run over six innings and survived a season-high four walks Wednesday to earn a 7-1 victory at San Diego.

The right-hander is 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in two starts against the Pirates this year. He scattered seven hits for his first complete game since 2000 in a 9-1 win May 29 at Pittsburgh.

Moehler would be happy not to see Sanchez, who is 11 for 19 with five doubles against him.

Paul Maholm (5-4, 4.69) will get the ball for Pittsburgh. He gave up six runs over 4 1-3 innings Thursday in a 9-8, 10-inning loss to the New York Mets.

"I think people look at him and say, 'Why does he only have five wins?'" Russell told the Pirates' official Web site. "I think he's been consistent, if you take away two or three starts."

The left-hander is 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA in two starts versus Houston in 2009. He is 2-3 with a 7.76 ERA in five career outings at Minute Maid Park, although he has won his last two starts there, posting a 3.00 ERA in 15 innings.

Maholm has shut down Houston sluggers Carlos Lee and Lance Berkman over the years. Lee is 6 for 29 (.207) against Maholm while Berkman, hitting .205 versus left-handers this season, is 3 for 23 (.130).








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    PITTSBURGH 0 0 2 0 0 0 4 0 0 6 7 0
    HOUSTON 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 3 10 2 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: PIT - PAUL MAHOLM, JOEL HANRAHAN (7TH), JOHN GRABOW (7TH), MATT
    CAPPS (9TH) AND JASON JARAMILLO
    HOU - BRIAN MOEHLER, TIM BYRDAK (7TH), CHRIS SAMPSON
    (7TH), ALBERTO

    Jul 7 11:15 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    FIELDER'S CHOICE BY MICHAEL BOURN SCORED KAZUO MATSUI.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M BOURN ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 6
    HOUSTON 3 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: M TEJADA (.328, 1-FOR-3)

    Pirates 6, Astros 3  Bot 7, 0 OutsJul 7 10:41 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JACK WILSON SCORED DELWYN YOUNG.
    SITUATION: 4 RUNS IN, J WILSON ON FIRST, A MCCUTCHEN ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 6
    HOUSTON 2 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: B MOSS (.256, 0-FOR-3)

    Pirates 6, Astros 2  Top 7, 0 OutsJul 7 10:26 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ANDREW MCCUTCHEN SCORED RAMON VAZQUEZ.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, A MCCUTCHEN ON FIRST, D YOUNG ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 5
    HOUSTON 2 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: J WILSON (.271, 1-FOR-3, HR, 2 RBI)

    Pirates 5, Astros 2  Top 7, 0 OutsJul 7 10:25 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY DELWYN YOUNG SCORED ANDY LAROCHE.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, D YOUNG ON FIRST, J JARAMILLO ON SECOND, R
    VAZQUEZ ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 4
    HOUSTON 2 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: A MCCUTCHEN (.296, 1-FOR-3)

    Pirates 4, Astros 2  Top 7, 0 OutsJul 7 10:23 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    ERROR BY LANCE BERKMAN ALLOWED GARRETT JONES TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J JARAMILLO ON FIRST, R VAZQUEZ ON SECOND, A
    LAROCHE ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 3
    HOUSTON 2 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: P MAHOLM (.088, 0-FOR-2)

    Pirates 3, Astros 2  Top 7, 0 OutsJul 7 10:23 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY HUNTER PENCE SCORED LANCE BERKMAN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, H PENCE ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 2
    HOUSTON 2 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: I RODRIGUEZ (.248, 2-FOR-2)

    Pirates 2, Astros 2  Bot 6, 0 OutsJul 7 9:58 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY LANCE BERKMAN SCORED MICHAEL BOURN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M TEJADA ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 2
    HOUSTON 1 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: C LEE (.297, 1-FOR-1)

    Pirates 2, Astros 1  Bot 3, 0 OutsJul 7 9:01 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY JACK WILSON (4) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 3RD OFF BRIAN MOEHLER SCORED ANDREW MCCUTCHEN.
    CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 2, HOUSTON 0
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: B MOSS (.258, 0-FOR-1)

    Pirates 2, Astros 0  Top 3, 0 OutsJul 7 8:51 PM