Houston (73-80) at Pittsburgh (53-99)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Pittsburgh, PA
Temp: 80° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Fri Sep 24, 2010
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The Houston Astros may be finishing another poor season, but Brett Myers(notes) is having a career year.

The right-hander looks to continue his impressive pitching and help the Astros extend their dominance of the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday when the NL Central rivals begin their final series of 2010.

Myers (13-7, 2.76 ERA) won his fifth straight decision and stretched his streak of consecutive starts of six or more innings to begin a season to 31 by tossing seven shutout innings in a 4-3 victory over Central-leading Cincinnati on Sunday.

It is the longest such streak since Curt Schilling(notes) did it in his first 35 starts of 2002, while with Arizona.

“I’ll reflect on it at the end of the year,” Myers said. “I’m just going to go out there and keep pitching and just follow the plan. I’ve just got to keep working and keep going at it hard.”

Myers is in the top 10 in the majors in ERA and one win away from matching his career high, set in 2003 with Philadelphia when he went 14-9.

He’ll be trying to help Houston (73-80) get back on track after it lost the final three games of a four-game series at last-place Washington this week. The Astros, who scored nine runs in the three defeats, hadn’t dropped three in a row since a four-game skid Aug. 4-8.

Houston has won 26 of 34 - 10 of 12 this year - against the major league-worst Pirates, who are one defeat away from their first 100-loss season since 2001. Myers is 2-0 with a 2.18 ERA in three starts this season against Pittsburgh (53-99).

The Pirates had their season-high five-game winning streak snapped with a 9-2 loss to St. Louis on Thursday afternoon. They have won 11 of 16 at PNC Park and can finish above .500 at home for the first time since 2006 with a three-game sweep this weekend.

James McDonald(notes) (4-5, 4.09) will try to get them off to a good start when he takes the mound in the series opener.

The right-hander saw his 20-inning scoreless streak end Saturday, but he allowed two runs over five innings to beat Arizona 9-6 and move to 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA in his last three starts.

McDonald is 4-1 with a 2.40 ERA in five starts at PNC Park since being acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers at the July 31 trade deadline.

“When a guy goes out and you know he’s going to give you a pretty quality start, it is an uplifting feeling,” manager John Russell said.

McDonald didn’t record an out in his only appearance against Houston, allowing two runs and two hits in relief while with the Dodgers on July 18, 2009.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Myers Cle vs. J. McDonald ChC
14-8 Record 4-6
3.14 ERA 4.02
180 K 68
66 BB 29
1.24 WHIP 1.38


Friday, Sep 24