The Giants look to end a four-game home skid Friday night when they open a three-game set against the Astros, who are trying to win their fifth straight.
San Francisco (18-15) scored four runs in getting swept in three games by San Diego this week, losing 1-0 in the series finale Thursday. The Giants batted .183 and struck out 15 times against the NL West-leading Padres.
No team in the majors has scored fewer runs than Houston’s 104. The Astros, however, have put together their best four-game stretch during this win streak with 23 runs after completing a three-game sweep at St. Louis with a 4-1 win Thursday.
“I was hitting .190 coming in (to the series with St. Louis) so I expected at some point I was going to get some hits,” said Berkman, a career .298 hitter.
Berkman’s presence in the lineup should be a boost since he was out due to left knee surgery when San Francisco swept three games at Houston to open the season. The Astros (13-21) batted .196 and scored six runs in that series.
“It was a really good team effort these last three days,” Lindstrom told the Astros’ official website. “We’re starting to put it together, the offense and pitching.”
That could be good news for Houston right-hander Felipe Paulino(notes) (0-5, 4.67 ERA), who is making his third career start against the Giants after going 0-2 with an 18.47 ERA in two last year. Sandoval went 2 for 4 with a homer in those games.
Paulino has lost his last five starts, although he has allowed two earned runs or fewer in three of the last four. He struck out 11 and gave up two runs in a 2-1 loss to the Padres on Saturday.
The Giants will counter with Todd Wellemeyer(notes) (1-3, 5.97), who is 0-2 with a 2.70 ERA in four career starts against the Astros. The right-hander allowed four runs over 4 1-3 innings Saturday in a 5-4, 11-inning loss at New York.