Colorado (21-16) at Houston (21-16)

Fair Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 74° F
  • Game info: 2:05 pm EDT Sun May 14, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Colorado Rockies have struggled to record wins against the Houston Astros—until this season.

The Rockies try to take their first series in Houston since 1995 when the teams meet in the finale of their three-game set at Minute Maid Park on Sunday.

Colorado (21-16) defeated Houston 2-1 on Saturday to split the first two games of the current series. The Rockies swept the Astros (21-16) in a three-game set May 5-7 in Denver.

“You can count on one hand our victories here,” said Rockies manager Clint Hurdle, whose team is in a first-place tie with San Diego in the NL West. “Maybe we can fill up that hand (Sunday).”

Jeff Francis (2-2, 3.16) tries to win his third consecutive start when he takes the ball for Colorado on Sunday. The left-hander has allowed just three runs and 17 hits in his last four starts with a 1.01 ERA after beginning the season with two losses and a no-decision.

Francis gave up one run and six hits over 7 2-3 innings in a 6-2 win over St. Louis on Monday. He has never faced Houston, but is 1-0 with a 2.41 ERA in three road starts this season.

Andy Pettitte (2-4, 5.66) will try to rebound from a shaky start to the season when he takes the mound for Houston. The left-hander got no decision after allowing six runs and eight hits over five innings in a 12-7 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

He allowed two homers in the game to bring his season total to nine in 47 2-3 innings, after giving up 17 in 222 1-3 innings last season. Pettitte did not allow more than one homer in any of his 33 starts in 2005, but has already given up two or more twice this season.

“I’m not getting it done, that’s all there is to it,” said Pettitte, who is 1-0 with a 4.22 ERA in two starts versus Colorado. “As a starting pitcher, you can’t ask for more than what our offense did (Tuesday). … I wasn’t able to hold the lead. It was a terrible effort on my part.”

Luis Gonzalez and Todd Helton each had RBI singles in the third for the Rockies on Saturday, who snapped a season-high three-game losing streak. Gonzalez earned a spot in the lineup after hitting a pinch-hit homer Friday and Helton is hitting .384 (5-for-13) with two doubles over the last three games.

Left fielder Matt Holliday went 1-for-4 and is hitting .433 (13-for-30) during an eight-game hitting streak.

Starter Aaron Cook gave up just one run and five hits over 6 1-3 innings to get the win, reliever Ramon Ramirez extended his streak of scoreless innings to 15 1-3 innings and Brian Fuentes earned the save.

Roy Oswalt’s effort wasn’t enough as he allowed two runs and eight hits over seven innings to take the loss. Mike Lamb provided most of Houston’s offense as he went 3-for-4 with two doubles and scored in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Preston Wilson.

Lamb was in the lineup in place of Lance Berkman, who was sidelined with tightness in his left hamstring.

The Astros have lost seven of their last nine games, but are second in the NL with 15 home wins.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Francis Tor vs. A. Pettitte NYY
13-11 Record 14-13
4.16 ERA 4.20
117 K 178
69 BB 70
1.29 WHIP 1.44