Blue Jays-Astros Preview

The Associated Press

The recent performance of Brad Peacock is one of the reasons the Houston Astros have felt comfortable with their decision to use a six-man rotation.

Peacock will be feeling that way if the Astros can build on a rare outburst at the plate.

The right-hander hopes to continue making the most of his opportunity and deal the visiting Toronto Blue Jays their seventh straight loss Saturday night.

With their highest run total of the season at Minute Maid Park, the Astros (42-85) snapped their six-game home losing streak with a 12-4 victory in Friday's series opener against the Blue Jays (57-72). They hadn't scored more since a 16-10 win at Seattle on April 9.

Major league-worst Houston had averaged 3.4 runs while dropping 17 of its previous 20 home games.

Rookie Robbie Grossman homered and had four RBIs, raising his average to .356 during a 10-game hitting streak. Matt Dominguez went deep for the fourth time in seven games, a stretch in which he's 11 for 27.

The Astros will try to stay hot for Peacock (2-4, 5.59 ERA) as they look to win consecutive home games for the first time since a three-game run from June 14-16.

Since his recall from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Aug. 4, Peacock has fanned 20 while going 1-1 with a 1.86 ERA over 19 1-3 innings in three starts. He had gone 1-3 with an 8.44 ERA in five April starts.

"He's much improved from the other stints in which he was up here," manager Bo Porter said. "When you come up and go down, you're given certain information on what you need to do to pitch at this level. These guys are taking heed to that information."

Peacock earned his first victory since April 10 in his last outing, yielding two runs - none earned - and four hits over 6 1-3 innings in an 8-2 win over the Angels on Aug. 16.

"I had everything,'' Peacock said. "That's the best I've felt since I got back up here.''

He appears to have a chance for another strong start against a Toronto team that has averaged 2.7 runs and hit .152 with runners in scoring position during its losing streak.

Jose Reyes, however, went 2 for 4 Friday, leaving him 9 for 18 in his last five games against the Astros. Brett Lawrie homered and is batting .381 over his last 22 games overall.

After belting his 32nd home run in the opener, All-Star Edwin Encarnacion has gone 10 for 16 with three homers and nine RBIs in his last five games versus Houston.

Toronto's Chien-Ming Wang (1-1, 7.13) is scheduled to make his first start in the majors since July 2. The right-hander allowed 13 runs and 14 hits in two starts before being sent to the minors, failing to escape the second inning in either.

Wang was 4-3 with a 3.18 ERA in eight starts for Triple-A Buffalo since July 7.

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