Series: Game 3 of 4

Houston leads 3-0 (as of 9/10)

Game 1: Monday, September 8
Game 2: Tuesday, September 9
Game 3: Wednesday, September 10
Game 4: Thursday, September 11

Pirates 4

(60-85, 26-48 away)

Astros 7

(79-67, 42-29 home)

    8:05 PM ET, September 10, 2008

    Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas 

    123456789 R H E
    PIT 000110020 4 9 0
    HOU 02000500 - 7 9 0

    W: B. Moehler (11-6)

    L: D. Bautista (4-4)

    S: J. Valverde (42)

    Pirates-Astros Preview


    Houston is finally figuring out how to beat the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates. In fact, there aren't many teams the Astros haven't been able to solve in the second half of the season.

    The Astros look to win their third straight over the Pirates and inch closer to the NL wild card lead when the teams continue a four-game series Wednesday night.

    Houston (78-67) has won the first two games of this series, 3-2 on Monday and 9-3 the following night, after dropping seven of its first nine meetings with Pittsburgh (60-84) this season.

    This series has helped the Astros continue a surprising run at a playoff spot that began after the All-Star break, going a major league-best 34-16 since then. Houston has won four straight and 12 of its last 13 to move within four games of Milwaukee in the wild card race.

    "We're going to try to win as many games as we can," Astros slugger Lance Berkman said, "and we're certainly going to pay attention to what the teams in front of us are doing."

    Berkman was hitless in 17 at-bats entering Monday's game but he's showing signs of breaking out, going 5-for-7 with a home run and five RBIs in the last two games versus the Pirates.

    His three-run homer Tuesday sparked Houston's lineup, which collected 15 hits and went 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position. The veteran first baseman scored three runs to give him 109 this season, one shy of a career high set in 2001 and '03.

    Berkman has scored 891 runs in his career, moving past Cesar Cedeno and into third place in franchise history. He is 2-for-9 against Tom Gorzelanny (6-9, 6.64 ERA), who will take the mound for the Pirates on Wednesday.

    In three starts since he was recalled from Triple-A, Gorzelanny is 0-2 with a 6.61 ERA.

    The 26-year-old left-hander struggled through 3 2-3 innings against Cincinnati on Thursday, giving up three runs and seven hits as Pittsburgh lost 8-6. He fell to 1-7 with a 9.33 ERA in 10 road starts.

    Gorzelanny is 1-4 with a 4.30 ERA in five career starts against the Astros, who will counter with Brian Moehler (10-6, 4.22).

    Moehler is 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA in his last three outings. The right-hander gave up five runs and six hits in 4 2-3 innings as Houston lost 5-3 to Colorado on Friday night.

    Moehler is 1-0 with a 9.72 ERA in two starts versus the Pirates this season, and 4-4 with a 5.40 ERA in nine starts and three relief appearances all-time against Pittsburgh.

    Pittsburgh second baseman Freddy Sanchez is 6-for-12 against Moehler, but his status for Wednesday's game is uncertain after leaving in the second inning with blurred vision in his right eye. Sanchez, batting .325 (13-for-40) versus the Astros this season, was replaced by Luis Rivas.

    Sanchez's loss didn't help as the Pirates collected four hits en route to their fourth straight loss. They have dropped 15 of 18, batting .250 while averaging 3.7 runs during that span.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Gameday Matchup

    Current StreakW1W1
    Last 103-76-4

    Pitching Matchup

    T. Gorzelanny
    6-9, 6.66 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/10 at HOU
    2.1 IP, 2 ER
    Dec = ND
    B. Moehler
    11-8, 4.56 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/26 vs ATL
    5.2 IP, 2 ER
    Dec = ND

    Gameday Lineups

    1. N. Morgan, LF D. Erstad, LF
    2. N. McLouth, CF M. Loretta, 2B
    3. R. Doumit, C M. Tejada, SS
    4. A. LaRoche, 1B L. Berkman, 1B
    5. B. Moss, RF H. Pence, RF
    6. A. LaRoche, 3B J. Castillo, 3B
    7. L. Cruz, 2B R. Abercrombie, CF
    8. B. Bixler, SS H. Quintero, C
    9. T. Gorzelanny, P B. Moehler, P