Houston (8-10) at Pittsburgh (6-12)

Cloudy Currently: Pittsburgh, PA
Temp: 56° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Mon Apr 25, 2005
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Roy Oswalt and Oliver Perez will face off in a premier pitching matchup when the Houston Astros open a three-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.

Oswalt is seeking his fourth straight win after his best outing of the season. He had a four-hitter and struck out eight last Wednesday in a 6-1 victory over Milwaukee and Ben Sheets.

“He was absolutely terrific,” said Astros manager Phil Garner about Oswalt. “It was the kind of performance you dream of.”

The 27-year-old right-hander is 6-4 with a 2.89 ERA against Pittsburgh in 13 career appearances, including 12 starts. Oswalt is 2-2 with a 2.76 ERA in seven appearances, including six starts, at PNC Park.

Perez is hoping to notch his first win of the season. He failed to receive a decision in his last start last Wednesday at Cincinnati after allowing three runs and seven hits in four innings in the Pirates’ 6-4 loss.

The 23-year-old left-hander threw only 46 strikes out of 90 pitches and walked four batters. He has issued 16 walks in 19 innings.

“I was a little wild,” Perez said. “I have to forget this and get ready for the next game.”

Perez went 1-1 with a 4.61 ERA in two starts against the Astros last season in his only career appearances against them.

The Astros are looking to end a three-game slide after being swept over the weekend at St. Louis. An 8-5 loss on Sunday was Houston’s fifth straight on the road.

“It’s ugly, it’s really ugly,” Garner said. “We’re going to have to bring in some snake oil and maybe do an exorcism.”

One of the few bright spots Sunday was three scoreless innings by the bullpen. Astros relievers have a 2.54 ERA this season.

Pittsburgh enters as losers of six out of eight after a 5-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday. Freddy Sanchez’s two-run double in the second inning accounted for all the scoring for the Pirates.

Center fielder Jason Bay went 0-for-4 to conclude an otherwise successful four-game road trip. Bay hit .353 (6-for-17) with a pair of homers during the stretch.

“We need a guy like that in the middle of the order swinging the bat,” Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon said. “Hopefully we can get some guys feeding off of what he’s doing.”

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Starting Pitchers

R. Oswalt Col vs. O. PĂ©rez Hou
20-12 Record 7-5
2.94 ERA 5.85
184 K 97
48 BB 70
1.20 WHIP 1.67