Milwaukee (33-48) at Houston (43-39)

Heavy Thunderstorm Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 81° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Wed Jul 2, 2003
  • TV: FSNO, FSSW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Tim Redding hasn’t pitched particularly well in his last few outings, losing four straight.

He’ll try to end his struggles as the Houston Astros look to keep pace in the NL Central as they host the last-place Milwaukee Brewers in the middle game of their series at Minute Maid Park.

After losing three straight starts, Redding pitched in relief against Texas on Friday and took the loss, giving up a run in one inning of the Astros’ 10-7 loss. He has given up 12 earned runs over his last 17 2-3 innings for a 6.11 ERA.

Since winning three straight starts from April 22 to May 3, the right-hander is 1-6 with a 4.34 ERA in 10 starts and one relief appearance.

Redding hasn’t fared too well in limited appearances against the Brewers in his career, going 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in five games, including three starts. He has given up 10 runs and 22 hits, including seven homers, in 20 innings against them.

The Astros are coming off a 6-5, 10-inning win in the opener Tuesday, just their second win in their last seven.

Closer Billy Wagner blew a save in the top of the ninth as he gave up two runs—the second when he hit Wes Helms with a pitch with the bases loaded. Geoff Blum tied it at 5 with a homer leading off the bottom of the inning, and Greg Zaun drove home the winning run with a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the 10th.

“When I was a very young player, Frank Robinson told me when you go up in those situations you’re not the one in trouble, he (pitcher) is,” Zaun said. “That’s always stayed with me. So when I got up there, there’s no more anxiety than any other time.”

The win lifted the Astros into a first-place tie with St. Louis in the Central. Houston won for just the sixth time in 17 games following a stretch in which it won 10 of 12.

Milwaukee has lost three straight following a three-game win streak.

“Our guys continue to battle,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said. “This is a good test to see what happens from now on. This was a tough loss but they haven’t quit yet. They continued to play hard.”

The Brewers will turn to Wayne Franklin, who was acquired from the Astros in a trade last season. Franklin beat his former teams in both starts against them last year, giving up just two earned runs in 12 innings.

STANDINGS: Brewers - 6th place, 9 1/2 GB, NL Central. Astros - 1st place (tied), NL Central.

BREWERS PROBABLE STARTER: Franklin (4-5, 5.02 ERA). The left-hander is 1-1 with a 4.17 ERA in seven starts since winning consecutive outings May 16 and 21.

ASTROS PROBABLE STARTER: Redding (4-8, 3.99 ERA). Redding went 1-4 with a 5.34 ERA in five starts and one relief appearance in June. Opponents hit .297 against him during that span.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Brewers - Scott Podsednik, .329 avg.; Richie Sexson, 22 HRs and 52 runs; Geoff Jenkins, 61 RBIs; Eric Young, 17 SBs. Astros - Richard Hidalgo, .317 avg.; Morgan Ensberg, Lance Berkman and Jeff Bagwell, 14 HRs; Jeff Kent, 50 RBIs; Berkman, 54 runs; Adam Everett, 6 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Brewers, 3-2.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Brewers - CF Podsednik leads NL rookies in numerous categories, including batting average (.329). … 1B Sexson is 4-for-9 with three solo homers against RHP Redding. … OF Jenkins is 2-for-3 with a double, homer against Redding. Astros - RHP Roy Oswalt, on the disabled list since June 12 with a strained right groin, threw 50 pitches—34 for strikes—in a rehab assignment at Triple-A New Orleans. He allowed one earned run, struck out two and didn’t issue a walk. … 1B Bagwell needs two homers to reach 298 for his career and tie Joe Carter for 37th on the all-time list. … CF Craig Biggio is 0-for-7 with five strikeouts against LHP Franklin.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Brewers - 18-21 on the road; Astros - 25-16 at home.

INJURIES: Brewers - RHP Jayson Durocher (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Nick Neugebauer (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Todd Ritchie (shoulder), 15-day DL. Astros - 2B Kent (wrist), 15-day DL; INF Jose Vizcaino (wrist), 15-day DL; LHP Carlos Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Oswalt (groin), 15-day DL; RHP Brian Moehler (elbow), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

W. Franklin KC vs. T. Redding Phi
10-13 Record 10-14
5.50 ERA 3.68
116 K 116
94 BB 65
1.52 WHIP 1.39