Coming off his best performance of the season, Andy Pettitte looks to post back-to-back wins for the first time this year as the Houston Astros close out their Lone Star series with the visiting Texas Rangers.
Pettitte scattered five hits over seven innings and matched a season-high with eight strikeouts in a 7-0 win over Colorado on Monday night.
“He was able to expose our weaknesses offensively,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said of Pettitte. “Any time you go seven innings and give up no runs, it’s a good outing.”
Like the rest of the Houston pitching staff this season, Pettitte hasn’t had many runs to work with in his starts. The Astros’ .244 team batting average, 568 hits and 270 runs all ranked last in the majors heading into Saturday.
That’s why the left-hander appreciated the 3-0 first-inning lead he was staked to Monday.
“That was huge,” Pettitte said. “The guys were able to score some runs early and I was able to settle in after that.”
Houston’s offense did manage to score some runs Saturday, but Michael Young homered twice and drove in three runs as Texas held off the Astros 6-5 to end a five-game losing streak.
Rod Barajas homered for the second straight game, Alfonso Soriano added a two-run double and Francisco Cordero got five outs for his 18th save in 21 chances. The Rangers won for just the second time in 11 road games.
Texas is 1-5 on its trip. After Sunday’s series finale, the Rangers return home for a four-game series against the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels.
“This has been a tough stretch for us,” Barajas said. “For us to give Chris a lead and for him to shut them down was definitely nice.”
“We’ve had a couple of those games where we came back, but not all the way,” said Astros manager Phil Garner, whose club is 1-32 when trailing after six innings this year.
“We’ve got to get over that hump. I really thought today would be the day. We had good energy and I just thought it would happen.”