The San Diego Padres might want to consider modeling their new ballpark after Houston’s latest venue.
The surging Padres look to continue their mastery of the Astros at Minute Maid Park as the teams square off in the middle game of their series.
With Friday’s 7-1 win, San Diego improved to 10-3 at Houston’s new facility since it opened as Enron Field in 2001. Mark Loretta and Phil Nevin homered, and Mark Kotsay had three hits for the Padres, who have won seven of 10 overall.
Only the San Francisco Giants have a better record than San Diego at Minute Maid Park, going 11-1 in its three seasons.
Joining the new ballpark boom, the Padres hope to take that success back to San Diego next year during the inaugural season of PETCO Park.
The loss Friday kept Houston in a first-place tie in the NL Central with St. Louis after the Cardinals fell 8-5 to Cincinnati. The third-place Chicago Cubs moved to within a half-game of the division leaders with a 4-2 win over Milwaukee.
STANDINGS: Padres - 5th place, 27 GB, NL West. Astros - 1st place (tied), NL Central.
PADRES PROBABLE STARTER: Kevin Jarvis (4-6, 5.33 ERA). Jarvis is 0-4 with an 8.00 ERA over his last five starts, a stretch that follows a four-game winning streak. The right-hander was reached for four runs—three earned—and seven hits over five innings in Sunday’s 8-4 loss to Montreal. Jarvis is 6-2 with a 6.37 ERA in eight career appearances, including six starts, against the Astros.
ASTROS PROBABLE STARTER: Jared Fernandez (1-3, 5.40 ERA). Since winning his season debut on Aug. 3, Fernandez is 0-3 with a 7.50 ERA in three starts. The knuckleballer, who was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans on July 31 to replace injured right-hander Pete Munro, allowed four runs and six hits over 5 1-3 innings in a 6-0 loss to the Cubs on Aug. 20. He will be making his first career start against San Diego.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Padres - Loretta, .320 avg.; Ryan Klesko, 21 HRs; Brian Giles, 70 RBIs and 71 runs; Ramon Vazquez and Gary Matthews Jr., 10 SBs. Astros - Richard Hidalgo, .300 avg.; Bagwell, 31 HRs, 92 runs and 8 SBs; Lance Berkman, 80 RBIs.
SEASON SERIES: Padres, 1-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Padres - San Diego is 11-20 against the NL Central this season. … 3B Sean Burroughs is riding a 10-game hitting streak, during which he is batting .439 (18-for-41) with three doubles and three triples. … LF Brian Giles, acquired from Pittsburgh Tuesday for left-hander Oliver Perez and a minor leaguer, is batting .282 (11-for-39) during his 10-game hitting streak. Astros - CF Craig Biggio is batting .394 (13-for-33) over his last eight games with a homer and four runs scored. … 2B Jeff Kent was out of the lineup to be with his wife, Dana, who gave birth to their fourth child Friday. He’ll likely be back in the lineup Saturday. … RHP Roy Oswalt took another step toward returning from the disabled list, where he’s rehabbing a strained right groin, by pitching 24 minutes in the bullpen Friday.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Padres - 26-43 on the road; Astros - 41-28 at home.
INJURIES: Padres - INF Keith Lockhart (back), 15-day DL; RHP Trevor Hoffman (shoulder), 60-day DL. Astros - LHP Carlos Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Oswalt (groin), 15-day DL; RHP Brian Moehler (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Rodrigo Rosario (shoulder), 60-day DL.