Houston (69-71) at Milwaukee (64-77)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Milwaukee, WI
Temp: 63° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Sat Sep 9, 2006
  • TV: KNWS
Preview | Box Score | Recap

With Roger Clemens nursing an injury, the Houston Astros turn to a rookie starter to continue their postseason push.

Jason Hirsh takes the mound for the Astros when they continue their three-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers Saturday at Miller Park.

Clemens left Monday night’s game at Philadelphia after five innings with a strained right groin. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner is 6-4 with a 2.27 ERA in 15 starts this season.

“He’s just not ready to go,” manager Phil Garner said. “He still feels it.”

Garner said Clemens might be out for a week.

“There’s a good chance he won’t pitch until we get back home (on Friday),” Garner said. “Rocket knows very well how he feels.”

Hirsh (2-3, 6.84 ERA) allowed three runs—one earned—in six innings of last Saturday’s 4-2 loss to the New York Mets. The 24-year-old rookie right-hander, who is making his sixth career start, earned his first major league win at Miller Park on Aug. 17, allowing three runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 7-3 victory.

“Hopefully we can do that again—7-3 wouldn’t be a bad final,” said Hirsh, the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year.

The Astros (69-71) have won nine of their last 12 games, including Friday’s 4-3 series-opening victory. Houston is in sixth place in the National League wild-card race, four games behind the San Diego Padres for the lead.

Aubrey Huff and Morgan Ensberg homered Friday for the Astros, who are trying for their third straight appearance in the playoffs.

The Brewers, meanwhile, have dropped 12 of their last 14 games, all but mathematically ending their chances at a postseason berth. Corey Hart homered for Milwaukee, which got a scare when catcher Damian Miller was hit by a pitch in the head with the bases loaded in the seventh inning.

Miller laid motionless on the ground for a few minutes before walking off the field.

“I remember (Houston catcher Brad) Ausmus standing over me,” said Miller, who has a Grade 1 concussion. “He was pretty concerned.

“Right now I feel OK. It’s a little sore where I got hit.”

Tomo Ohka (4-4, 4.35) will take the mound for the Brewers on Saturday. He allowed three runs and eight hits in seven innings of Sunday’s 10-3 loss to Florida.

The Japanese-born right-hander had not lost since Aug. 8, going 1-0 with a 4.88 ERA in four starts between defeats.

Ohka is 1-3 with a 4.14 ERA in seven career starts against the Astros. He has not received a decision in three starts against them this season, despite posting a 1.93 ERA in those outings.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Hirsh NYY vs. T. Ohka Tor
3-4 Record 4-5
6.04 ERA 4.82
29 K 50
22 BB 35
1.57 WHIP 1.37


Saturday, Sep 9