Houston (44-42) at Pittsburgh (37-46)

Fair Currently: Pittsburgh, PA
Temp: 74° F
  • Game info: 1:35 pm EDT Sun Jul 6, 2003
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Jeff D’Amico will try to complete the Pittsburgh Pirates’ first home sweep of the season as they wrap up their weekend set with the Houston Astros at PNC Park.

D’Amico is 1-1 despite a sparkling 1.69 ERA over his last three starts.

The right-hander allowed just one earned run and seven hits over five innings Tuesday, but did not receive a decision in the Pirates’ 5-3 loss to Cincinnati.

D’Amico beat Houston 3-2 on May 14, pitching seven innings of four-hit ball while striking out a season-high 10.

The Pirates have won three in a row, including Saturday’s 4-3 victory. They also won their fourth home series in their last five opportunities.

Pittsburgh had lost seven of its first eight meetings with the Astros prior to taking the first two games of this series.

The Pirates will be bidding for their first home sweep since taking two games from the New York Mets last September. Pittsburgh last swept a three-game home series against Milwaukee from June 7-9, 2002.

Brian Giles drove in two runs for Pittsburgh, giving him hits in seven of his last eight games. The left fielder is batting .400 (12-for-30) over that span with two home runs, three doubles and seven RBIs.

Houston has lost eight of its last 11.

Geoff Blum homered and doubled for the Astros, extending his hitting streak to seven games. He has three homers and five RBIs over his last four games.

Houston has fallen one game behind division leader St. Louis in the NL Central. The Pirates are 6 1/2 game back, but only five behind in the loss column.

STANDINGS: Astros - 2nd place (tied), 1 GB, NL Central. Pirates - 5th place, 6 1/2 GB, NL Central.

ASTROS PROBABLE STARTER: Wade Miller (5-8, 4.49 ERA). Miller is 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA over his last four starts. The right-hander gave up three earned runs, five hits and struck out six over seven innings in a 6-5 victory over Milwaukee on Tuesday. A native of Pennsylvania, Miller is 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA in two starts against Pittsburgh this season. Overall, he is 4-3 with a 2.23 ERA in seven career starts against the Pirates.

PIRATES PROBABLE STARTER: D’Amico (5-8, 4.06 ERA). D’Amico has lost four of his last five decisions. He is 2-3 with a 4.94 ERA in six career starts against the Astros.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Astros - Jeff Kent, .313 avg.; Jeff Bagwell and Morgan Ensberg, 15 HRs; Lance Berkman, 51 RBIs and 54 runs; Adam Everett, 6 SBs. Pirates - Giles, .309 avg.; Reggie Sanders, 14 HRs; Aramis Ramirez, 48 RBIs; Kenny Lofton, 52 runs and 16 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Astros, 7-3.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Astros - Despite his 0-for-5 effort Saturday, RF Richard Hidalgo is batting .324 (11-for-34) over his last eight games. … RHP Roy Oswalt is scheduled to come off the disabled list Monday to start against Cincinnati. … RHP Miller is 15-6 with a 2.75 ERA in 32 day games, all but two of them starts. Pirates - 1B Randall Simon (torn ligaments in right hand) began a rehabilitation assignment Saturday at Triple-A Nashville. … 3B Ramirez had two hits Saturday after going 3-for-33. … C Jason Kendall is batting .439 (18-for-41) during a 10-game hitting streak.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Astros - 18-25 on the road; Pirates - 18-26 at home.

INJURIES: Astros - 2B Kent (shoulder), 15-day DL; INF Jose Vizcaino (wrist), 15-day DL; LHP Carlos Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Roy Oswalt (groin), 15-day DL; RHP Rodrigo Rosario (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Brian Moehler (elbow), 60-day DL. Pirates - 1B Randall Simon (hand), 15-day DL; INF Pat Meares (hand), 60-day DL; INF Pokey Reese (thumb), 60-day DL; LHP Dave Williams (shoulder), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

W. Miller Tor vs. J. D'Amico Cle
14-13 Record 9-16
4.13 ERA 4.77
161 K 100
77 BB 42
1.31 WHIP 1.40