The Astros go for a rare road series victory Wednesday when they face the Washington Nationals in the deciding contest of their three-game set.
Houston (40-54) snapped a seven-game road losing streak with a 4-2 victory over Washington (38-55) on Tuesday. Carlos Lee homered for the second straight game and boosted his RBI total to 77 for the Astros, who had been outscored 49-21 during the skid.
Rookie Hunter Pence hit a tiebreaking homer - his 12th of the season - and is batting .334 with 44 RBIs.
Brad Lidge struck out two in the ninth inning for his first save since 2006 as Houston improved to 16-32 away from home. The Astros are trying to win a road series for the first time since taking two of three games from the Chicago White Sox June 8-10, which was also the last time they won back-to-back games outside of Houston.
The Astros have failed to score a single run in Jennings’ last three outings, though, and are a dismal 2-9 in his 11 starts this season. The right-hander is 0-4 with a 4.97 ERA over his last four starts, but has gotten just one total run of support during that stretch.
Jennings (1-5, 4.15 ERA) gave up four runs and 10 hits over 5 1-3 innings in a 6-0 defeat to the Chicago Cubs on Friday. He walked one and struck out a season high-tying seven.
Jennings is 2-3 with a 5.30 ERA in seven career starts versus the Nationals, winning his last two against them while allowing just two earned runs through 13 innings. Washington slugger Dmitri Young is batting .667 (8-for-12) with a homer and two doubles during his career versus Jennings.
Young extended his hitting streak to nine games on Tuesday, batting .417 (15-for-36) with 15 RBIs during that stretch. Ronnie Belliard and Ryan Zimmerman homered, but the Nationals lost for the third time in four games and are averaging 2.8 runs over that span.
They have scored three or fewer runs in nine of Jason Bergmann’s 12 starts, but look for a better effort Wednesday. Bergmann (1-5, 4.32) finally got some support in his last outing on Friday, but didn’t receive a decision in a 14-10 win over Florida.
The right-hander gave up a season-high eight runs and seven hits, including three homers, over 4 1-3 innings. He walked four and struck out two to fall to 0-2 with an 8.66 ERA in his last four starts, allowing opponents to hit .347 in those outings.
“He has been a tough-luck guy for us,” manager Manny Acta told the Nationals’ official Web site. “He has pitched real good. He hasn’t been able to get more than one win, and I just went out there told him, ‘We gave you 11 runs. I’m going to give you a chance to get your act straight, but I’m not going to put our team in jeopardy, either.’”
Bergmann has made one relief appearance versus the Astros, giving up four runs and three hits without recording an out.
The Nationals will be without catcher Brian Schneider on Wednesday after he was hit with a pitch above the right elbow in Tuesday’s game. He hopes to be back on Thursday when Washington opens a four-game series at home against Colorado.