Houston (38-42) at San Francisco (44-36)

Fair Currently: San Francisco, CA
Temp: 53° F
  • Game info: 4:05 pm EDT Sun Jul 5, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Houston Astros were shut out in the first two games of their series with the San Francisco Giants. They don’t catch a break in the finale with a red-hot Randy Johnson(notes) scheduled to be on the mound.

The five-time Cy Young Award winner will try to win his fourth straight decision Sunday as the Giants look to push their home winning streak to six.

Houston (38-41) came to San Francisco on Friday with wins in six of its previous eight games and a chance to be at or above the .500 mark for the first time since it was 2-1. A heavy dose of outstanding pitching by the Giants (44-36) has erased those hopes.

San Francisco rookie Ryan Sadowski(notes) allowed three hits in seven innings of a 13-0 victory Friday. Tim Lincecum(notes) did the same Saturday, adding nine strikeouts in a 9-0 win.

The Astros have totaled seven hits and struck out 16 times in the series. Michael Bourn(notes) and Miguel Tejada(notes) - the top hitters in the Houston lineup - are 1 for 16.

If Johnson (8-5, 4.70 ERA) can turn in an effort similar to that of Sadowski and Lincecum, the Giants will have a good chance for their first three-game home sweep of the Astros since May 21-23, 2007. Johnson is 3-0 with a 3.60 ERA in his last four outings.

The Big Unit lasted 5 1-3 innings and gave up three runs - all on two homers by Albert Pujols(notes) - to beat St. Louis 6-3 on Tuesday.

“My individual battles are obviously there, but I’m facing eight or nine hitters and if one guy has his day against me but we win, I feel like I did my job,” Johnson said.

Johnson is 4-1 with a 3.64 ERA in seven career starts against Houston, and will have some more interesting individual matchups Sunday. No batter has faced him more than Ivan Rodriguez(notes), who is 19 for 76 (.250) with 17 strikeouts versus the left-hander. Tejada is 16 for 42 (.381) against Johnson.

The only time Johnson lost to Houston was Aug. 17 when he was opposed by Astros ace Roy Oswalt(notes) (4-4, 4.02) for the first time. Oswalt struck out 10 and gave up one hit in eight innings, while Johnson allowed three runs in seven innings as Houston beat Arizona 3-0.

Oswalt, though, has struggled at AT&T Park, going 2-5 with a 4.96 ERA in eight starts.

The right-hander moved to 4-0 with a 2.83 ERA in five starts versus the NL West this year after pitching a two-hitter Monday in a 3-1 victory at San Diego.

“I feel better than I did at the beginning of the season,” Oswalt said. “It seems like I’m throwing the ball better, the balls have a little more carry and hopefully I can carry on the rest of the year.”

Oswalt will get his first look at Giants first baseman Pablo Sandoval(notes), who is 4 for 7 with a homer and four RBIs in this series. Sandoval is hitting .396 (38 for 96) with eight homers and 20 RBIs in his last 26 games.

Giants outfielder Fred Lewis(notes) hasn’t started in this series, but could be in the lineup Sunday. Lewis is 8 for 14 versus Oswalt.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Oswalt Col vs. R. Johnson SF
8-6 Record 8-6
4.12 ERA 4.88
138 K 86
42 BB 31
1.24 WHIP 1.33


Sunday, Jul 5