Now he’ll try to lead the Astros (64-68) to their season-high fifth straight win and extend his personal winning streak to five games Wednesday when he faces the Milwaukee Brewers (62-70) at Minute Maid Park.
The Astros broke open a tie game with a seven-run eighth inning en route to a 10-3 victory in the series opener against Milwaukee on Tuesday. Houston matched its season high with its fourth consecutive win and snapped a five-game skid at home.
“Let’s not make it what it’s not,” manager Phil Garner said. “This felt good, but we’ve got a long way to go.”
The Astros trail San Diego by three games for the NL wild card while the Brewers are five games back.
Roy Oswalt allowed three runs and four hits over seven innings on the day he agreed to a $73 million, five-year contract extension with the Astros, the biggest multiyear deal they have ever given to a pitcher.
The only negative for Houston was the end of Willy Taveras’ 30-game hitting streak, the longest in Astros history and the second-longest in the majors this season behind Chase Utley’s 35-game run for Philadelphia. Taveras went 0-for-3 and was hit twice by pitches.
Houston has outscored opponents 35-9 during its winning streak and is batting .328 while posting a 2.25 ERA during that span.
Clemens (6-4, 2.50 ERA) will look to continue that success and win his fifth straight decision. The right-hander is 4-0 with a 3.09 ERA in five starts in August, walking five and striking out 24.
The seven-time Cy Young Award winner limited Pittsburgh to one run and six hits over six innings in a 5-1 victory Friday, the 347th of his career. He has pitched at least six innings in eight consecutive starts and allowed two or fewer earned runs in 11 of his 13 starts this season.
“He continues to make good pitches, he doesn’t beat himself and he gets tough when the game gets tough,” Astros manager Phil Garner said. “This game was an absolute must for us and he goes out and does a super job.”
Clemens is 19-12 with a 2.31 ERA in 39 starts against the Brewers, including a 3-1 win Aug. 20 when he held them to one run and six hits over seven innings.
Milwaukee will counter with Dave Bush (9-10, 4.89), who is trying to reach double-digit wins for the first time in his career. The right-hander began August with consecutive victories, but has gone 1-2 with a 6.88 ERA in his last three starts.
Bush allowed six runs, eight hits and one walk while striking out five over five innings of a 6-5 loss to Florida on Friday. He gave up four runs in the third inning and hit two batters in the outing to bring his major-league worst total to 17.
“I just didn’t make pitches when I needed to,” Bush said. “It was just a series of poorly executed two-strike pitches. That pretty much turned the game there. … (It’s) disappointing I couldn’t help the offense, they’ve been swinging the bat really well.”
Bush has also struggled away from home, going 3-6 with a 6.10 ERA in 14 road starts this season. He’s 1-0 with a 4.85 ERA in two starts against the Astros this season, walking none and striking out 10.
Bush will try to help Milwaukee snap its five-game losing streak, but the Brewers have not fared well at Minute Maid Park of late, winning just four of their last 22 games in Houston.