Houston (82-69) at Colorado (69-83)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Denver, CO
Temp: 64° F
  • Game info: 3:05 pm EDT Thu Sep 18, 2003
  • TV: KNWS
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Houston Astros look to get back to winning, and stop their NL Central lead from shrinking, as they face the Colorado Rockies in the finale of their series at Coors Field.

Houston had its four-game winning snapped by Colorado, 7-5 on Wednesday night, trimming the Astros’ division lead over the Chicago Cubs to a half-game. Chicago defeated the New York Mets 2-0.

The Astros still have won 10 of 13, and need just two more wins to match their total from last season.

“It’s not something that you panic over,” Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell said. “We have to take care of our business ourselves. We can’t worry about what the Cubs are doing. We have to win our ball games, and we’re good enough to do that.

“You have to tip your hat to the Cubs because they are playing great. And so are we.”

The Astros will turn to right-hander Wade Miller in the finale. Miller hasn’t faced the Rockies since April 2—his first start of the season—when he was tagged for five runs and seven hits over just 3 1-3 innings.

Colorado lost four in a row at home, and nine of its previous 10 before winning Wednesday.

Todd Helton hit his 31st homer in the win, extending his hitting streak to 11 games.

Former closer Jose Jimenez, thrust into the rotation on Aug. 22 after Shawn Chacon went on the disabled list, makes his sixth start of the season. Jimenez earned his first win as a starter since July 5, 1999, limiting Arizona to one run and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings of an 8-2 victory.

STANDINGS: Astros - 1st place, NL Central. Rockies - 4th place, 25 GB, NL West.

ASTROS PROBABLE STARTER: Miller (13-12, 4.12 ERA). The right-hander was a winner in his last start, allowing two runs and two hits over six innings of a 14-5 decision over the Cardinals on Friday night. He is 2-1 with a 6.17 ERA in four career starts against Colorado.

ROCKIES PROBABLE STARTER: Jimenez (2-8, 5.22 ERA). The right-hander is making his 17 appearance—fourth start—against the Astros. He is 2-2 with a 5.76 ERA and six saves against them.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Astros - Richard Hidalgo, .315 avg.; Bagwell, 35 HRs, 89 RBIs, 102 runs and 10 SBs. Rockies - Helton, .355 avg. and 128 runs; Preston Wilson, 34 HRs, 136 RBIs and 12 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Astros, 3-2.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Astros - 1B Bagwell is 4-for-11 in his career against RHP Jimenez. … RHP Miller is 6-9 with a 4.60 ERA in 17 road starts this season. … 2B Jeff Kent is 4-for-11 in his career against Jimenez. Rockies - OF Jay Payton is hitting .600 (6-for-10) in his career against RHP Miller. … RHP Jimenez has made 36 career starts, going 9-15 with a 5.26 ERA. … OF Wilson is 1-for-8 in his career against RHP Miller.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Astros - 37-40 on the road; Rockies - 46-28 at home.

INJURIES: Astros - LHP Carlos Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Brian Moehler (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Rodrigo Rosario (shoulder), 60-day DL. Rockies - C Bobby Estalella (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Shawn Chacon (elbow), 15-day DL; LHP Denny Neagle (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Chris Richard (shoulder), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

W. Miller Tor vs. J. Jimenez Ari
14-13 Record 2-10
4.13 ERA 5.22
161 K 45
77 BB 32
1.31 WHIP 1.66