San Francisco (50-69) at Houston (61-59)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 81° F
  • Game info: 2:05 pm EDT Thu Aug 14, 2008
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Houston Astros manager Cecil Cooper won’t deny that his team got some lucky breaks in its last game. That doesn’t make him any less proud of his club for capitalizing on those opportunities.

After taking advantage of some wild pitching to keep their winning streak alive, the Astros look to extend their season-high run to eight games as they try to complete a four-game home sweep of the San Francisco Giants on Thursday.

Houston (61-59) lost outfielder Carlos Lee to a finger injury Saturday but went on to post its two highest run totals of the season in a three-game stretch, beating Cincinnati 13-4 on Sunday and San Francisco 12-4 on Tuesday.

The Astros weren’t as effective at the plate Wednesday, but notched a season-high seventh straight win by topping the Giants 6-2. They scored all of their runs in the sixth inning with just two hits, as four runs came in on walks or hit batsmen.

“I’ve never seen anything like it, but I’ll take it,” said Cooper, whose team totaled six hits in the game. “That’s the sign of a good team, taking advantage of your opportunities.”

There’s little doubt that Houston has been a good team lately. Since falling into last place in the NL Central on July 23, the Astros have the best record in the majors at 15-4. Their current win streak is their longest since a nine-game run from Sept. 20-28, 2006.

Houston has won six of seven meetings in 2008 with San Francisco (50-69), which has lost five straight to the Astros for the first time since a seven-game skid from April 8, 1998-April 14, 1999.

The Giants will try to avoid the sweep as they face Astros starter Brian Moehler (8-4, 3.83 ERA) on Thursday. The right-hander held Cincinnati to one run and five hits in seven innings of a 3-1 victory Saturday, and is 3-0 with a 1.31 ERA in his last three outings.

“The guy throws strikes, he moves it around the zone,” Cooper told the team’s official Web site. “His command was good again tonight. That’s what Moehler has to do, and that’s what he’s been doing.”

Moehler, though, is 1-1 with a 9.45 ERA in five career games - four starts - against the Giants, who will hand the ball to Kevin Correia (2-6, 5.21).

After losing eight straight games started by the right-hander, San Francisco has won three of four with him on the mound. The team improved to 4-10 in his starts Saturday, when Correia held the Los Angeles Dodgers to one run in six innings of a 3-2, 10-inning victory.

“I want to go out there and give us a chance to win,” he told the Giants’ official Web site. “We don’t have a lot of wins when I’m out there … but I don’t think I’ve had too many starts, I don’t think, where we didn’t have a chance to win.”

Correia, who has never started versus the Astros, is 0-0 with a 1.80 ERA in four relief appearances against them.

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Starting Pitchers

K. Correia Phi vs. B. Moehler Hou
3-8 Record 11-8
6.05 ERA 4.56
66 K 82
47 BB 36
1.71 WHIP 1.35


Thursday, Aug 14