Pittsburgh (14-17) at Houston (15-16)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 81° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Tue May 6, 2003
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Jeff Bagwell and Richard Hidalgo hope to help the resurgent Houston Astros build on their season-high four-game winning streak.

The hot-hitting tandem leads the Astros as they resume a four-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates at Minute Maid Park.

Bagwell hit a two-run homer and Hidalgo drove in three runs Monday to lead the Astros to an 8-1 rout in the series opener. The duo combined for five hits and scored a pair of runs.

Bagwell, who leads the NL with 11 homers, is hitting .310 (27-for-87) with seven homers and 15 RBIs over his last 21 games.

Hidalgo, who matched a season high with three hits for the second straight day, is batting .355 over his last 18 games with five homers and 11 RBIs.

The Astros are outscoring opponents 22-8 during their win streak, while the Pirates are being outscored 15-4 during a three-game skid.

Matt Stairs hit a solo homer for the Pirates, who had won four in a row prior to their slide.

Stairs’ homer, his first of the season, was estimated at 461 feet—the longest in Minute Maid Park history. It also broke a 25-inning scoreless streak for the Pirates in Houston.

In their previous two visits, the Bucs were blanked 3-0 and 4-0, and are 5-21 in the three-year history of the park.

STANDINGS: Pirates - 4th place, 3 1/2 GB, NL Central. Astros - 3rd place, 2 1/2 GB, NL Central.

PIRATES PROBABLE STARTER: Kip Wells (1-1, 2.82 ERA). Wells is coming off his best start of the season, allowing two runs and four hits over seven innings in Thursday’s 5-2 win over San Diego. The 26-year-old right-hander struck out a season high-tying eight and walked five in snapping a 10-start winless streak that dated to last season. Wells is 1-3 with a 5.73 ERA in four career starts against Houston.

ASTROS PROBABLE STARTER: Kirk Saarloos (no record). Saarloos makes his season debut after going 3-0 with two complete games and a 1.65 ERA in six starts for Triple-A New Orleans. The 23-year-old left-hander went 6-7 with a 6.01 ERA in 16 starts for Houston last season. He threw a shutout in his lone career start against Pittsburgh last July 25, retiring 13 of 14 at one point in Houston’s 8-0 victory on July 25.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Pirates - Jason Kendall, .295 avg.; Reggie Sanders, 5 HRs, 15 RBIs and 17 runs; Sanders and Kenny Lofton, 5 SBs. Astros - Bagwell, .320 avg. and 11 HRs; Bagwell, 21 RBIs; Bagwell and Craig Biggio, 21 runs; Hidalgo, 3 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Astros, 1-0.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Pirates - OF Brian Giles, on the DL with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee, ran the bases before Monday’s game and pronounced himself fit to return. He’s eligible to come off the DL, but team doctors are not sure when they will give him clearance. … OF Stairs’ homer Monday is the Pirates’ only extra-base hit over their last four games. … Pittsburgh hasn’t won a season series from Houston since 1999. Astros - OF Biggio is batting .400 with three doubles and two RBIs in 10 career at-bats against RHP Wells. … Houston’s relievers have pitched 11 consecutive scoreless innings and rank second in the NL with a 2.81 ERA. … After making 13 errors in their first 13 games, the Astros have just six in their last 18.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Pirates - 10-6 on the road; Astros - 9-7 at home.

INJURIES: Pirates - OF Giles (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Josh Fogg (abdominal), 15-day DL; RHP Mike Lincoln (shoulder), 60-day DL; LHP Dave Williams (shoulder), 60-day DL; IF Pat Meares (hand), 60-day DL. Astros - LHP Carlos Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Brian Moehler (hip), 15-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

K. Wells LAA vs. K. Saarloos Cle
10-9 Record 2-1
3.28 ERA 4.93
147 K 43
76 BB 17
1.25 WHIP 1.46