Texas (44-34) at Houston (42-38)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 85° F
  • Game info: 2:05 pm EDT Sun Jul 4, 2004
  • TV: KDFW, FSSW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Disappointed with his first start after more than a month on the disabled list, Andy Pettitte looks to get back on track when the Houston Astros conclude their interleague series with the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park.

Pettitte was looking forward to his first season with his hometown Astros after nine solid years with the Yankees but injuries have been a problem. The 32-year-old left-hander was sidelined from April 7-29 because of a sore left elbow and then was forced to leave a game against the Cubs on May 26 with a strained forearm.

In his first start back, Pettitte gave up three runs—including a two-run homer—and four hits in five innings as the Astros eventually lost 7-5 to the Cubs on Tuesday. He did not receive a decision for his third straight outing to remain 4-0 with a 2.68 ERA in last seven starts.

“It was good to get back out there for sure,” said Pettitte, who threw 92 pitches with seven strikeouts and left with a 4-3 lead. “I’m just extremely disappointed in the loss. … I really feel like we came out with a lot of energy and the guys put some runs up on the board, and I gave it right back to them.”

The Astros took the first two games from the Rangers, including a 10-8 decision on Saturday. Houston’s offense appears to be heating up, scoring 17 runs so far in the series. They haven’t scored so many in consecutive games since May 18-19 against Florida when they had 19.

Morgan Ensberg hit a grand slam to homer in his second straight game after going 213 at-bats without one. Mike Lamb and Raul Chavez each drove in two runs for the Astros, who moved into a fourth-place tie with the Brewers in the NL Central. They trail the division-leading Cardinals by six games.

Gary Matthews, Jr. and Alfonso Soriano each hit three-run homers for the Rangers, who are 2-5 after a season-high eight-game winning streak and dropped half a game behind the first-place Athletics in the AL West.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Benoit SD vs. A. Pettitte NYY
3-5 Record 6-4
5.68 ERA 3.90
95 K 79
31 BB 31
1.40 WHIP 1.23