Houston (75-66) at San Diego (57-84)

Cloudy Currently: San Diego, CA
Temp: 62° F
  • Game info: 5:00 pm EDT Sun Sep 7, 2003
  • TV: KUSI
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Houston Astros look to keep pace in the tight NL Central race as they try to complete a three-game sweep of the San Diego Padres at Qualcomm Stadium.

Houston is off to an impressive start on its 10-game road trip, going 4-1 over the first five games. Morgan Ensberg went 4-for-4 and drove in four runs as the Astros beat the Padres 10-4 on Saturday.

The Astros, who haven’t swept a three-game series in San Diego since 1982, remained a half-game in front of the Chicago Cubs and two ahead of St. Louis in the Central.

However, standout reliever Octavio Dotel limped off the mound with a strained left gluteus muscle in the top of the eighth inning. The severity of Dotel’s injury was not immediately known, but any extended time he misses will certainly hinder the Astros’ bullpen.

Opponents are hitting just .172 against Dotel this season, and he’s struck out 86 batters in 76 2-3 innings this season.

Despite the injury, Billy Wagner came into the game and promptly got five outs for his 39th save to complete the five-hitter.

Phil Nevin drove in four runs for San Diego, including a three-run homer in the first. He has homered in three straight games.

STANDINGS: Astros - 1st place (tied), NL Central. Padres - 5th place, 29 GB, NL West.

ASTROS PROBABLE STARTER: Wade Miller (12-11, 4.10 ERA). Miller is 5-1 with a 1.62 ERA in his last six starts. The right-hander gave up one run and four hits over 6 2-3 innings in Monday’s 10-1 win over Los Angeles. Miller is 1-1 with a 5.68 ERA in three career games against San Diego.

PADRES PROBABLE STARTER: Jake Peavy (10-10, 4.25 ERA). Peavy allowed one run and only one hit over six innings in a 3-1 win over the Astros last Sunday. The right-hander is 1-1 with a 1.42 ERA in three career games against Houston.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Astros - Richard Hidalgo, .307 avg.; Jeff Bagwell, 32 HRs, 83 RBIs, 96 runs and 9 SBs. Padres - Mark Loretta, .323 avg.; Ryan Klesko, 21 HRs; Brian Giles, 74 RBIs and 77 runs; Gary Matthews and Ramon Vazquez, 10 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Tied, 2-2.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Astros - LHP Wagner has 16 straight saves and has allowed just one earned run over 27 innings in his last 25 appearances. In that span, Wagner has allowed 13 hits and walked five while striking out 35. … 1B Bagwell is hitless in seven at-bats against RHP Peavy. … LHP Wagner’s 39th save tied his own team record, accomplished in both 1999 and 2001. Padres - OF Mark Kotsay is batting .214 (3-for-14) against RHP Miller. … OF Khalil Greene, the Padres’ No. 1 draft pick in 2002, picked up his first career hit in Saturday’s defeat. … 3B Sean Burroughs had his career-high 15-game hitting streak snapped Saturday.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Astros - 32-37 on the road; Padres - 30-39 at home.

INJURIES: Astros - LHP Carlos Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Roy Oswalt (groin), 15-day DL; RHP Brian Moehler (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Rodrigo Rosario (shoulder), 60-day DL. Padres - 1B Klesko (shoulder), out for season.

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Starting Pitchers

W. Miller Tor vs. J. Peavy SF
14-13 Record 12-11
4.13 ERA 4.11
161 K 156
77 BB 82
1.31 WHIP 1.31