Houston (37-54) at Pittsburgh (31-59)

Fair Currently: Pittsburgh, PA
Temp: 77° F
  • Game info: 1:35 pm EDT Sun Jul 18, 2010
  • TV: FSH, FSPI
Preview | Box Score | Recap

As Roy Oswalt(notes) takes the mound for the first time since the All-Star break, he does so knowing his time with the Houston Astros could be coming to an end.

He has a chance, though, to leave as the club’s all-time wins leader.

Oswalt can tie the Astros’ wins record when he takes the mound against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

The Houston right-hander and three-time All-Star is in second place on the Astros career wins list with 143. With a victory Sunday, Oswalt (6-10, 3.08 ERA) would tie Joe Niekro for the franchise record.

It will undoubtedly be bittersweet for Oswalt, who in May requested a trade from the Astros (37-54). With the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaching, the 32-year-old’s tenure with the only major league team he’s played for could be ending, but he said he’s not thinking about that.

“They pay you to pitch and that’s what I’m going to do until it’s time to go somewhere else,” he said after his most recent start. “That’s the business part of it. The best part about it is when you step across the white line and you don’t have to worry about it.”

Oswalt had one of his best outings of the season in his last start July 8 against the Pirates (31-59), pitching his seventh career shutout and 19th complete game. He gave up one hit - a first-inning single to Neil Walker(notes) - and struck out eight in the 2-0 victory, snapping a three-start winless streak.

Oswalt also didn’t allow a run over seven innings in his previous start.

While it’s been a frustrating season for Oswalt, who hasn’t lost more than 12 games in any season, he is 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA in two starts against the Pirates in 2010 and 8-2 with a 1.72 ERA in his last 12 against them.

He’ll take the ball Sunday after Houston’s seven-game winning streak against Pittsburgh was snapped with a 12-6 loss Saturday. Pirates starter Ross Ohlendorf(notes) got hit hard early, but the team responded with its highest-scoring game of the season.

Walker had three hits, drove in two runs and scored three times. Pittsburgh finished with 17 hits, snapping a seven-game overall losing streak.

“It was great team effort tonight,” Walker said. “You can tell everyone was a little more relaxed. Hitting is contagious, and fielding’s contagious and pitching’s contagious. And when all the things are running on the right cylinders and going in the right direction, it makes for a fun night like tonight was.”

Paul Maholm(notes) (5-7, 4.37) will take the mound for the Pirates after closing the first-half of the season with a strong outing.

Maholm gave up two runs and three hits in seven innings of a 5-4, 10-inning loss to Milwaukee last Friday. The left-hander has one win in his last six starts.

Maholm gave up four runs - two earned - in seven innings of a 4-3 loss to Houston on April 23, snapping his three-game winning streak against the Astros.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Oswalt Col vs. P. Maholm Cin
13-13 Record 9-15
2.76 ERA 5.10
193 K 102
55 BB 62
1.03 WHIP 1.56

Scoreboard

Sunday, Jul 18