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Padres-Astros Preview

Padres-Astros Preview
In the opener of a series between two of the lowest-scoring teams in the NL, the absence of Houston Astros slugger Lance Berkman figured to have an impact.

That still wasn't enough for the San Diego Padres.

The Astros hope Berkman can return to the lineup as they try to build on a narrow victory Saturday night in the middle game of a weekend series against the struggling Padres at Minute Maid Park.

Berkman was a late scratch Friday because of a sore left wrist, and the team said he'd be listed as day-to-day. A career .299 hitter, Berkman's batting just .184 this season, but he's first on the team with seven home runs, second with 16 RBIs and tied for second with 14 runs scored.

Without him, the Astros (12-17) used a dominant outing from starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez and a timely hit to snap a three-game losing streak with a 2-0 win. Houston, which ranks 15th in the NL with just 106 runs scored, had been outscored 23-12 during its skid.

"We had a good team game today," outfielder Hunter Pence told the Astros' official Web site after driving in both runs with a two-out single in the fifth inning. "It feels good to get a win."

The Padres (13-17), two spots ahead of the Astros with 113 runs, had four of their five total hits in the first two innings Friday but couldn't push a run across for the third time this season.

"We had a couple of chances in the first two innings, but we could not cash in," said manager Bud Black, whose club has dropped 14 of 18 after a surprising 9-3 start.

San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who entered Friday's game with a .308 batting average, failed to reach base for the second time in 30 games this season. The 0-for-4 performance dropped his career average against the Astros from .351 to .333. He's 14-for-41 (.341) with three homers in 10 career games at Minute Maid Park.

Gonzalez is also 5-for-7 in his career against Houston's Brian Moehler (0-2, 14.00 ERA), who will take the mound Saturday.

The right-hander delivered his best start of the young season in his return from the disabled list Monday, limiting Washington to two runs over five innings of a 9-4 loss. He had missed his previous three starts because of a sprained right knee.

"It was all right. I threw a lot of pitches and I'm not real happy with that," Moehler said. "I didn't make pitches at times. It could have been better, obviously."

Moehler is 1-1 with a 4.29 ERA in seven career games - three starts - against San Diego.

Kevin Correia (0-2, 5.92) will start for the Padres. The right-hander gave up a season-high five runs and lasted only 3 1-3 innings in a 9-6 loss to Colorado on Monday. Correia has no record and a 3.09 ERA in five career games - one start - against Houston.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 9, 2009

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