Thanks to a pair of victories in their last at-bat, the Houston Astros wrapped up a successful homestand, but they next head to Arizona - where wins have been rare of late.
Searching for a third straight victory, the Astros will also try to win for only the second time in nine road games against the Diamondbacks in Friday night’s opener of a three-game series.
Houston (27-31) used Geoff Blum’s(notes) ninth-inning single for a 2-1 victory Wednesday night over the Chicago Cubs, and Blum drove in Hunter Pence(notes) for another 2-1 win in 13 innings Thursday in the series finale.
“I’m not sure the technical term, but deja vu is something that happens over and over,” Blum said. “Right now, it happened twice. It feels good. It’s just nice to win.”
In allowing one run for the second straight game, the Astros pitching staff helped the team win seven times on its 10-game homestand to begin this month. Houston is 9-4 since a season-high seven-game slide and has posted a 3.99 ERA in that time.
Mike Hampton(notes) (4-4, 4.65 ERA) will look to continue that trend, but he’s lost three straight in Arizona with a 9.37 ERA. The Diamondbacks tagged him for six runs over four innings in a 6-1 win over Atlanta on Aug. 10.
After beating Pittsburgh in consecutive starts and allowing one run over seven innings in each, Hampton is trying to win three in a row for the first time since a five-start run from July 4-July 30, 2004, for the Braves.
The left-hander, however, has had difficulty beating any team but the Pirates as three of his four wins this season have come against Pittsburgh.
After Haren allowed one run over seven innings Sunday in San Diego, the Diamondbacks gave up five runs in the ninth. The bullpen kept the Padres hitless over the next nine in a 9-6 win in 18 innings and relievers have a 0.82 ERA in the last four games.
“On the one hand, we blew Danny’s lead,” infielder Mark Reynolds(notes) told the team’s official Web site after hitting the winning three-run homer. “On the other hand, the bullpen - after they tied it up - did great.”
The bullpen couldn’t preserve a shutout Thursday over San Francisco because of an unearned run in the ninth, but helped Arizona snap a three-game slide with a 2-1 victory.
“It got a little dicey. I won’t lie,” starter Max Scherzer(notes) said following his 7 2-3 scoreless innings. “I was in the training room watching it, and I was more nervous watching that than actually pitching. Glad we got the win.”
In addition to winning seven of its last eight at home over the Astros, Arizona has also beaten Houston in eight of the last 10 overall meetings.