Cincinnati (13-14) at Houston (11-15)

Windy Currently: Houston, TX, US
Temp: 81° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Thu May 3, 2007
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Wins have been rare recently for the Houston Astros. Winning two in a row has been even more infrequent.

The Astros look to win consecutive games for the first time in almost two weeks as they close out their three-game home series against the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday.

Roy Oswalt allowed one run in eight innings, Carlos Lee went 3-for-4 and Craig Biggio 2-for-5 with an RBI in Houston’s 3-1 win over Cincinnati on Wednesday for just its second victory in 11 games.

Houston (11-15) has not won consecutive games since winning at Cincinnati on April 19 and at Milwaukee on April 20. The Astros won both contests in a two-game series at Cincinnati last month for their most recent series win.

Wednesday, the Astros matched their run total from their previous two games, but have scored more than three runs just three times in their last 11 games.

Lee equaled his hit total from his previous five games to raise his average to .262. The Astros clean-up hitter has struggled in his first season with Houston and has not homered since April 17, a span of 14 games.

“Right now I’m going out there and working the count, doing this, doing that. I just have to be aggressive,” Lee told the Astros’ official Web site.

With his two hits Wednesday, Biggio moved into 29th place on the all-time hit list with 2,956.

Houston rookie outfielder Hunter Pence tripled in the first inning Wednesday to drive in his first run in four games since being called up from Triple-A Round Rock on Friday .

“That was key, it just gives you a little bit of momentum…to go out there and play with some confidence the rest of the way,” Pence said.

Cincinnati (13-14) had its three-game winning streak snapped, but Adam Dunn homered for the third straight game Wednesday. Dunn, who has eight home runs, is 4-for-11 with six RBIs and six runs scored in his last three games.

The Reds offense cooled off Wednesday after scoring 28 runs and belting out 41 hits during their winning streak. A win Thursday, though, would give the Reds a 5-4 finish on their nine-game road trip.

Thursday’s contest features a pair of left-handers still searching for their first win of the season.

Struggling veteran Eric Milton (0-4, 4.71 ERA) will look to avoid a six straight loss dating to 2006 for Cincinnati. He allowed six hits and three runs — all in the first inning—in 4 1-3 innings in Cincinnati’s 3-1 loss at Pittsburgh on Friday.

Milton, who is 16-27 since signing a $25 million, three-year deal with Cincinnati before the 2005 season, has allowed six first-inning runs over his last three starts.

“It seems like the first inning, I have been struggling with that,” Milton told the Reds’ official Web site.

Milton, though, is 3-1 with a 3.50 ERA in eight starts against the Astros.

Houston will hand the ball to Wandy Rodriguez (0-3, 4.50 ERA), who allowed three runs and five hits in seven innings but was on the losing end of Houston’s 5-3 loss at Pittsburgh on Thursday.

Rodriguez, who is winless in his last 16 starts since beating Texas on July 2, is 2-1 with an 8.03 ERA in three starts against the Reds.

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Starting Pitchers

E. Milton LAD vs. W. Rodríguez HOU
0-4 Record 9-13
5.17 ERA 4.58
18 K 158
9 BB 62
1.53 WHIP 1.32