San Diego (6-7) at Houston (4-10)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 76° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Sat Apr 16, 2011
  • TV: Ch4, FSH
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Mat Latos(notes) expects to pitch better despite a decent effort in his 2011 debut for the San Diego Padres. The right-hander has been at his best when facing the Houston Astros.

Looking to help the Padres win two straight for the first time since their opening series, Latos tries to continue his success against the Astros on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.

Latos tied for a team high with 14 wins during his first full major league season in 2010, but began this year on the disabled list with a strained shoulder. Healthy again, Latos allowed three runs off two homers and struck out seven in six innings of 3-2 loss to Cincinnati on Monday.

“I made two mistakes in the whole ballgame,” Latos said. “Everything feels fine. Everything feels great. (The shoulder) feels 100 percent.”

Though Latos has a 7.39 ERA while losing six consecutive starts dating to last season, he yielded six hits, struck out 16 and did not allow a run over 16 innings in his only two starts against the Astros last season. That included a two-hit, nine-strikeout effort over eight innings of a 7-0 win at Minute Maid Park on May 7.

“He kind of carries himself like he knows he can pitch,” Reds manager Dusty Baker told the Padres’ official website. “You see what he does.”

Latos will try to duplicate the success of teammate Aaron Harang(notes), who allowed a run in six innings as San Diego (6-7) evened the four-game set with a 4-2 victory Friday.

Chris Denorfia(notes) went 2 for 3 with a homer and Ryan Ludwick(notes) had two RBIs as the Padres bounced back from a 1-0 loss to the Astros on Thursday.

“Good starting pitching, good defense, timely hitting and the guys in our bullpen come in and do the job,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “It happened.”

Despite a respectable offensive showing Friday, the Padres have totaled 11 runs while losing three of five. They might have a chance to break out against Houston’s scheduled starter Nelson Figueroa(notes) (0-2, 10.61 ERA).

The right-hander has allowed 15 runs - 11 earned - and 19 hits over 9 1-3 innings in his two starts. The Cubs tagged Figueroa for five runs in four innings of a 5-4 home loss Monday.

“We know he is much better than that,” manager Brad Mills(notes) said. “(He’s) just having problems getting the ball over the plate and getting behind guys. But we’ve seen him and we know that that’s not him and we know that he’s going to be just fine.”

Though Figueroa threw 1 2-3 scoreless innings of relief against the Padres for the Mets in 2009, he has not made a start versus San Diego since giving up five runs in two innings while with Milwaukee in 2002.

Hunter Pence(notes) drove in a run Friday for the Astros (4-10), who are 3-5 on their opening 10-game homestand.

While Pence is a lifetime .355 hitter versus San Diego at Minute Maid Park, he is 1 for 10 the last three games overall.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Latos Mia vs. N. Figueroa Ari
9-14 Record 0-3
3.47 ERA 8.69
185 K 17
62 BB 16
1.18 WHIP 2.10

Scoreboard

Saturday, Apr 16