Houston (77-64) at Pittsburgh (64-76)

Fair Currently: Pittsburgh, PA
Temp: 32° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Fri Sep 10, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

It didn’t take long for the Houston Astros to shake off their first loss in two weeks.

Winners of 21 of their last 25 games overall, the Astros will try to continue their playoff push when they play the third game of their five-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pirates left-hander Oliver Perez ended the Astros’ 12-game winning streak with the most dominating start of his short career, striking out 14 in a 3-1 victory Thursday in the first game of a doubleheader.

Houston’s franchise record-tying winning streak tied an earlier run by Tampa Bay as the majors’ longest this season. The Astros, who are in the midst of a stretch of 14 of 17 on the road, had won 10 of 11 away from Minute Maid Park before Perez shut them down.

The Astros are tied with San Francisco for the NL wild-card lead, after trailing by seven games only three weeks ago.

Houston averaged nine runs per game during the winning streak, scoring at least five in every game.

The Astros’ bats woke up in the second game Thursday as Jeff Bagwell, Brad Ausmus and Lance Berkman drove in two runs each in a 9-2 win.

“We needed the second game in a big way,” outfielder Craig Biggio said.

Manager Phil Garner agreed.

“The win’s important to us because we’re in the pennant race,” Garner said. “The second thing is we want to keep driving, and to keep driving you want to keep winning. You don’t want any letdowns.”

The Pirates have lost six of eight and 22 of 29.

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Starting Pitchers

P. Munro Min vs. J. Van Benschoten SD
4-7 Record 1-3
5.15 ERA 6.91
63 K 18
26 BB 19
1.46 WHIP 1.81