Pittsburgh (40-49) at Houston (49-43)

Clear Currently: Houston, TX, US
Temp: 65° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Sat Jul 12, 2003
  • TV: FSPI
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Randall Simon has accepted his suspension for hitting one of the Milwaukee Brewers’ mascots with his bat, and will finish serving it when the Pittsburgh Pirates continue their three-game series with the Houston Astros at Miller Park.

That doesn’t mean Pittsburgh Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon is happy about it.

“I’m certainly not happy with the suspension,” McClendon said. “We are playing a first-place club. We’ve gotten ourselves back into the race. I would like to have my first baseman in there against this team.

“It’s very difficult to swallow. I guess baseball thinks they need to make a statement to show they care and this is their way of doing it.”

Simon was suspended for three games and fined $2,000 by Major League Baseball on Friday for hitting one of the Brewers’ sausage mascots with his bat during a costume race Wednesday at Miller Park.

After Wedneday’s game, Simon was arrested and booked for misdemeanor battery but was not charged with a crime. Still, he was cited by the sheriff’s department for disorderly conduct and fined $432.

Simon didn’t play in Thursday’s finale against the Brewers and sat out again Friday in the Pirates’ 4-2 loss to the Astros.

Jeff Bagwell homered and Adam Everett, Craig Biggio and Morgan Ensberg also drove in runs for the NL Central-leading Astros, who have won five straight.

Bagwell’s homer was his 16th of the season and 396th of his career, tying him for 37th on the all-time list with Joe Carter and Frank Thomas.

STANDINGS: Pirates - 4th place, 7 1/2 GB, NL Central. Astros - 1st place, NL Central.

PIRATES PROBABLE STARTER: Kip Wells (2-4, 3.82 ERA). Wells is 0-2 with a 4.72 ERA over his last six starts, and hasn’t won since a 4-3 win over St. Louis on May 31. The 26-year-old right-hander was reached for a season-high seven runs—six earned—and seven hits over 5 2-3 innings in Monday’s 9-2 loss to Milwaukee. Wells is 1-3 with a 5.79 ERA in five career starts against Houston.

ASTROS PROBABLE STARTER: Roy Oswalt (5-4, 2.94 ERA). Oswalt pitched six strong innings in his return from the disabled list. The 25-year-old right-hander, who left an 8-0 win over the New York Yankees on June 11 with a strained groin, allowed just one run and three hits over six innings, striking out three and walking one. He is 5-2 with a 2.43 ERA in nine career appearances, including eight starts, against Pittsburgh.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Pirates - Jason Kendall, .305 avg.; Reggie Sanders, 15 HRs; Aramis Ramirez, 58 RBIs; Kenny Lofton, 56 runs and 17 SBs. Astros - Richard Hidalgo, .317 avg.; Ensberg, 17 HRs; Lance Berkman, 58 RBIs and 60 runs; Adam Everett, 6 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Astros, 8-4.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Pirates - C Kendall is batting .397 (27-for-68) during a career high-tying 16-game hitting streak. … OF Matt Stairs left Friday’s game in the fifth inning with a strained right groin. He is day-to-day. … The Pirates extended McClendon’s contract through 2004 on Friday, dampening speculation that he could be fired if Pittsburgh doesn’t post its first winning season since 1992. His record is 174-238 over three seasons. Astros - RHP Oswalt is 20-7 with a 2.49 ERA in 36 career outings at Minute Maid Park. … INF Geoff Blum is batting .386 (22-for-57) during his career-high 13-game hitting streak. … 1B Bagwell has 21 RBIs over his last 21 games.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Pirates - 21-23 on the road; Astros - 31-17 at home.

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

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Starting Pitchers

K. Wells LAA vs. R. Oswalt COL
10-9 Record 10-5
3.28 ERA 2.97
147 K 108
76 BB 29
1.25 WHIP 1.14