Houston (26-36) at Baltimore (37-26)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Baltimore, MD
Temp: 59° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Tue Jun 14, 2005
  • TV: FSSW, CSN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Andy Pettitte hopes he can rediscover his former dominance against the Baltimore Orioles.

The struggling left-hander tries to win his ninth straight start against the first-place Orioles when the Houston Astros continue a three-game interleague series at Camden Yards.

Pettitte has enjoyed the most success against Baltimore in his career, going 20-4 with a 3.64 ERA in 28 career games through nine seasons with the New York Yankees. It includes a 12-2 mark at Camden Yards.

The 33-year-old Pettitte, who signed as a free agent with Houston in 2003, has not lost to the Orioles since a 4-3 defeat on June 25, 2002, a span of eight starts in a row while posting a 2.39 ERA.

Pettitte last faced Baltimore in an 11-2 win on Sept. 26, 2003, when he gave up an unearned run in five innings to finish the season with a career-high 21 victories.

The 6-foot-5 hurler, though, has yet to exhibit his former dominance in Houston. He went 6-4 last year as he battled elbow problems that resulted in season-ending surgery.

Pettitte, just 3-6 in 12 starts this season, had his third straight strong outing against the Mets on Thursday. He gave up two runs and four hits in six innings but did not receive a decision in a 6-3 11-inning win for the Astros.

“It’s been a long road back but it’s been a heck of a lot better,” said Pettitte, who is 1-1 in his last three starts despite a 1.42 ERA. “Heck, we won the game. That’s the big thing.”

Pettitte also faces a much improved Baltimore lineup, that leads the majors in hitting with a .285 average.

Jay Gibbons and Larry Bigbie each homered in a six-run second inning in Baltimore’s 8-5 win over Houston on Monday. Bigbie was playing in his first game since going on the disabled list May 28 with a strained left hamstring. He hit his first homer of the season and had his first three-hit game.

Sammy Sosa drove in two runs and Melvin Mora doubled in a run and walked three times for the Orioles, who had lost four of their previous five games to end a 13-game road trip.

“It’s good to be home, playing in front of your own fans,” manager Lee Mazzilli said.

Jason Lane and Morgan Ensberg both hit two-run homers for the Astros, who had a season-high five-game winning streak snapped and fell to 7-24 on the road.

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Starting Pitchers

A. Pettitte NYY vs. B. Chen Cle
17-9 Record 13-10
2.39 ERA 3.83
171 K 133
41 BB 63
1.03 WHIP 1.27