Milwaukee (73-75) at Houston (80-68)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 88° F
  • Game info: 2:05 pm EDT Sun Sep 18, 2005
  • TV: FSSW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Houston Astros look to continue their run of outstanding pitching and win their fifth straight when they try to complete a three-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Astros have limited their opponents to a total of four runs during their winning streak after a 7-0 win on Saturday. Houston is one-half game ahead of Philadelphia for the NL wild-card lead.

Rookie starter Wandy Rodriguez will try to help the Astros turn in another solid effort on the mound when he gets the ball. Rodriguez is 1-2 with a 3.71 ERA over his last three starts.

The 26-year-old left-hander is 1-0 with a 4.91 ERA in two starts against Milwaukee this season. Rodriguez is 5-4 despite a 6.30 ERA in 11 home starts in 2005.

Houston slugger Morgan Ensberg made his first appearance on Saturday since injuring his wrist Sept. 5 when he was hit by a pitch from Philadelphia’s Brett Myers. Ensberg pinch-hit in the seventh inning and beat out an infield single after taking batting practice for the first time.

“The one good sign is after I get done with the hitting, the pain seems to go away,” Ensberg said.

Craig Biggio hit his NL-record 43rd leadoff homer and starter Brandon Backe allowed six hits over 6 2-3 innings in Saturday’s win. Biggio was batting leadoff for only the 10th time this season.

“Home runs just come from accidents by me,” Biggio said. “I just try to hit it solid and sometimes they go out.”

The Brewers entered this series with hopes of a three-game sweep that would have pulled them within two games of the Astros in the wild-card race. Milwaukee has fallen seven games off the pace after managing one run and 15 hit in the first two games of this series.

Milwaukee is hoping that 17-game winner Chris Capuano will help it avoid the sweep. Capuano is 11-4 with a 4.11 ERA in 16 starts on the road and will make his first start of the year at Minute Maid Park.

The 27-year-old southpaw won for the fifth time in six starts after giving up one run and five hits over seven innings in a 3-1 win at Arizona on Tuesday. Capuano improved to 3-0 with a 3.05 ERA over his last three outings.

“It seems like we’ve been scoring a lot of runs in my starts, and even when I haven’t pitched well we’ve been able to find ways to win,” Capuano said. “The win column is kind of arbitrary at times, so when you get lucky, you’ve just got to ride it out.”

Capuano is making his second start of the season against Houston after allowing two runs and five hits over 7 2-3 innings in a 2-1 loss on May 29.

Brewers first baseman Lyle Overbay went 0-for-3 on Saturday, dropping his average to .355 (11-for-31) this season at Minute Maid Park. Overbay is batting .325 (26-for-80) in his career at Minute Maid.

“It’s weird,” Overbay said. “I don’t really know why but I seem to really see the ball well in this park.”

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Starting Pitchers

C. Capuano Col vs. W. Rodríguez Pit
18-12 Record 10-10
3.99 ERA 5.53
176 K 80
91 BB 53
1.38 WHIP 1.46