Much like his team, Roy Oswalt is on a roll.
The right-hander goes for his fourth straight win while trying to help the Houston Astros match a season high with a fifth consecutive victory Thursday when they look to sweep a three-game home set from the San Francisco Giants.
Houston (20-19) beat San Francisco 2-1 Wednesday to move over .500 for the first time since April 22, and have pulled 4 1/2 games behind the struggling NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers.
The Astros secured their first home series victory over the Giants since 1999, and will try to sweep a three-game set against them in Houston for the first time since July 17-19, 1998.
Houston, which is 4-1 on its nine-game homestand, won five straight from April 16-20.
Oswalt (6-2, 3.14 ERA), who is 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA this month, allowed three runs and a season-high eight hits in six innings, but the right-hander still got the win in Houston’s 10-4 victory over Arizona on Saturday.
“He did a pretty good job of getting squared away and getting on track,” manager Phil Garner told the Astros’ official Web site.
Oswalt is 2-4 with a 4.53 ERA in eight starts against San Francisco, which joins Oakland (0-1) and Atlanta (0-2) as the three teams he has a losing record against.
Rookie center fielder Hunter Pence, who was called up April 27, went 4-for-4 with his second homer in as many games on Wednesday to raise his average to .355 (22-for-62) with four homers and 15 RBIs in 16 games.
Pence is 7-for-7 in the series and batting .786 (11-for-14) with three homers and seven RBIs in his last four games. He needs one more hit to tie the club record for consecutive hits set by Art Howe in 1980.
“He’s having quite the series, no question about it,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s not missing his pitch, and if he doesn’t hit it well, it’s falling in. He’s been a wrecking crew here this series.”
San Francisco (19-20) will look to avoid a third straight loss Thursday. The Giants are 2-4 on their 10-game road trip and 3-7 in their last 10 contests.
Rookie Tim Lincecum (1-0, 5.56 ERA) will make his third start for the Giants on Thursday. The 22-year-old Lincecum allowed two earned runs and seven hits while striking out six and walking one in seven innings of the Giants’ 8-3 win at Colorado on Friday for his first major league victory.
He bounced back after giving up five runs in 4 1-3 innings in his debut versus Philadelphia on May 6.
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound, right-hander has been compared to Oswalt because of his stature and will get the chance to matchup with the Astros’ ace.
“It’ll be a neat thing going up against a guy who’s not big, but overcame it and proved to people that size doesn’t always matter,” Lincecum told the Giants’ official Web site.