New York (52-49) at Houston (54-47)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 77° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Thu Jul 28, 2005
Preview | Box Score | Recap

New York outfielder Carlos Beltran will return to Minute Maid Park for the first time since his memorable postseason performance that nearly got the Astros to their first World Series, as the Mets open a four-game stretch with the surging Astros.

Beltran was traded last July to Houston from Kansas City and helped the Astros win 36 of 46 games to win the NL wild-card.

Beltran, who signed a free agent contract during the offseason with the Mets, will face a Houston team that is starting to look a lot like the team he joined last season.

The Astros have won 10 of their last 11 and are 39-17 (.696) since May 24.

“They started terrible. Now they’re pitching well and hitting the ball good,” Beltran said. “I’m looking forward to going there and trying to sneak three out of four. If we can do that, it’ll be great.”

Especially since the Mets are trying to become a factor in the NL playoff race.

The Astros are only one game behind Washington in the wild card and two games ahead of the Mets entering this four-game series.

New York, which avoided getting swept by the hapless Rockies with a 9-3 win on Wednesday night, has taken four of six from Houston so far this season.

The Astros have won four straight after finish off a three-game sweep over the Philadelphia Phillies, as Roger Clemens beat the Phillies 3-2 on Wednesday.

Clemens gave up just two runs and six hits. He allowed only a run with two outs in the first inning and another in the fourth, taking his major league-leading ERA up from 1.40 to 1.46, while earning his sixth win in seven decisions.

The Astros beat Philadelphia for the ninth straight time and improved to 18-2 in their last 20 games at home.

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Starting Pitchers

P. Martinez Phi vs. E. Astacio ChC
15-8 Record 3-6
2.82 ERA 5.67
208 K 66
47 BB 25
0.95 WHIP 1.54