Houston (24-34) at Colorado (28-31)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Denver, CO
Temp: 7° F
  • Game info: 3:05 pm EDT Thu Jun 7, 2007
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The Houston Astros have improved at the plate in recent games. Roy Oswalt, though, has yet to benefit.

The Astros look to give Oswalt some much-deserved run support as they face the Colorado Rockies in the decisive game of their series Thursday.

Houston (24-34) lost 8-7 to Colorado (28-31) on Wednesday night, but it was the fourth time in six games the Astros have scored more than six runs. They are 3-3 in that span following a 10-game losing streak.

Houston’s worst game at the plate in its last six games was on Friday night, when Oswalt (6-4, 3.20 ERA) gave up one run and four hits in seven innings as the Astros lost 8-1 to St. Louis.

After that contest, the right-hander said the lack of scoring when he pitches has been “tough mentally” for him. Houston, which is 26th in the majors with 238 runs, has given Oswalt two runs or less to work with in each of his last four starts.

Oswalt is 5-1 with a 1.73 ERA in six starts against the Rockies, and has posted a 1.93 ERA to win both of his starts at Coors Field.

Lance Berkman continued his strong play in Colorado, going 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI for the Astros on Wednesday. The first baseman, who has struggled this season, is batting .351 (34-for-97) with seven home runs, seven doubles and 22 RBIs in 26 games at Coors Field.

Berkman, however, faces a possible suspension for returning to the field during a bench-clearing incident after he had been ejected earlier in Tuesday night’s series opener.

“I don’t know what the league’s punishment is for that, but that is in clear violation of the rule,” umpire and series crew chief Ed Rapuano told the Astros’ official Web site. He was tossed after arguing a called third strike.

Berkman is hitting .400 (10-for-25) with four home runs, five doubles and nine walks lifetime against Josh Fogg (1-5, 4.53 ERA), who will be activated from the disabled list prior to the game for the Rockies.

Fogg was beginning to settle down before suffering a strained left groin, posting a 3.91 ERA in his last four starts.

“Physically, I’m probably real close to 100 percent,” Fogg told the Rockies’ official Web site. “Mentally, that initial burst out of the box or covering first base is still that thing I have to test. That’s what I’m going to do Thursday. I feel good physically. That’s the most important thing.”

In his last start, the right-hander gave up one run and six hits in six innings, but did not factor in the decision as Colorado beat Arizona 3-1 on May 22.

Fogg is 3-6 with a 6.09 ERA in 13 starts and one relief appearance against Houston.

The Rockies have scored only one run for Fogg in each of his last two starts, but have scored eight or more runs in two of their last three games.

Brad Hawpe had a two-run tiebreaking triple in the seventh to lead Colorado’s lineup Wednesday.

Matt Holliday went 3-for-3 with an RBI to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 14 games. The left fielder is batting .386 (22-for-57) during his run.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Oswalt Col vs. J. Fogg Phi
14-7 Record 10-9
3.18 ERA 4.94
154 K 94
60 BB 59
1.33 WHIP 1.53


Thursday, Jun 7