Pittsburgh (42-72) at Houston (55-58)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 80° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Thu Aug 10, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

When Roger Clemens gets run support from the Houston Astros, he usually wins.

Clemens looks for more offense from his Houston teammates as they go for a three-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates at Minute Maid Park on Thursday.

Clemens (3-4, 2.32 ERA) has only three wins in nine outings since making his first start for Houston in late June, partly because the Astros (55-58) have failed to give him any run support.

When they do, the 44-year-old right-hander has come through with a victory.

Clemens beat Arizona 9-3 on Saturday, allowing eight hits and three runs in seven innings. In his three victories, Houston is averaging eight runs.

“It’s been awhile,” Astros manager Phil Garner said. “I can’t remember when he’s had some runs to work with. He wanted to work on a few things and he had a chance tonight without having to feel like he couldn’t make a mistake, and as usual he gave us another great game.”

In Clemens’ other six starts, the Astros are scoring only 2.23 runs.

“Everything we hit was hard tonight,” Clemens said. “The run support was definitely a luxury to have. It made my night easier and I was able to pitch differently. There were some pitches I could work on.”

Clemens has 344 victories, 16 behind Kid Nichols for seventh place on the all-time list.

He is 3-1 with a 3.35 ERA in six career appearances against Pittsburgh (42-72), but failed to win any of his three starts against the Pirates in 2005.

The Astros gave Roy Oswalt plenty of support in a 14-1 victory on Wednesday. Aubrey Huff hit two of the six Houston homers and set a career-high with six RBIs.

“He decided to hit it out of the park. They can’t catch it out there,” Garner said. “He really has been hitting the ball well.”

Craig Biggio, Jason Lane, Luke Scott and Oswalt also had homers for the Astros, who have won four of their last five games.

“Today was just one of those days where we couldn’t do anything wrong,” said Biggio, who homered for the second straight game.

Scott has nine hits in his last 14 at-bats and is hitting .412 (28-for-68) with three homers and 11 RBIs in 21 games since being called up from Triple-A Round Rock on July 12.

The Pirates have lost four straight and will be trying to avoid going 1-5 on their road trip.

Tom Gorzelanny (2-2, 4.41) will try for his third consecutive victory when he starts for the Pirates on Thursday. The left-hander allowed two runs in seven innings to beat San Francisco on July 29, then allowed just two hits in eight innings as Pittsburgh beat the Chicago Cubs 6-0 on Friday.

“He was terrific,” Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. “Just like his previous outing. He threw a ton of quality strikes early in the count, which forced them to start moving the bat.”

Gorzelanny lost to Houston in his major league debut last Sept. 20, allowing seven hits and five runs in 4 1-3 innings.

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Starting Pitchers

T. Gorzelanny Det vs. R. Clemens NYY
2-5 Record 7-6
3.79 ERA 2.30
40 K 102
31 BB 29
1.31 WHIP 1.04


Thursday, Aug 10