Astros-Padres preview

The Astros, coming off of a three-game sweep against the Cubs where they averaged 7.3 runs and had at least 10 hits in each game, will try to keep things going against the Padres tonight in San Diego. Bud Norris (2-4, 3.76 ERA) will be on the mound for the Astros against Padres right-hander Tim Stauffer (1-3, 3.60).

Norris is fifth in the Majors at 9.81 strikeouts per nine innings, but is looking for his first road win of the season (0-3). Stauffer, who got his first win of the season in his 11th start on Saturday, became the fifth Padres pitcher to take 11 starts to get his first win of the season.

The Astros have been generating a lot of hits in their last six road games. In fact, the Cardinals are the only team this season to have at least 10 hits in seven consecutive road games, a mark the Astros can equal tonight.

When it comes to pitching, the Astros have done well against the Padres. Since the start of the 2010 season, Houston has a 2.72 ERA in 99 1/3 innings against San Diego – that’s the third-best ERA against the Padres in that span.

Want more reason to be optimistic about the Astros’ chances? The Padres are 9-20 at home this year, including 4-15 in night home games. They are hitting a Major League-worst .199 at Petco Park.

Here is the Astros’ lineup:

CF Michael Bourn – Has driven in the winning run in each of the last two games and has nine RBIs in his past nine games.

SS Clint Barmes – His .307 batting average against the Padres in his best against any opponent in his career.

RF Hunter Pence – Hitting .436 during his current 13-game hitting streak.

LF Carlos Lee – Hitting .344 with three doubles and four RBIs in his past eight games.

2B Jeff Keppinger – Has reached base in 10 of his 23 plate appearances this season.

1B Brett Wallace – Ranks fourth in the Majors in hitting in the seventh inning or later with a .397 average.

3B Chris Johnson – Has hit safely in five of his last six games.

C J.R. Towles – This is his 24th start, which is his most since a career-high 47 starts in 2008.

RHP Bud Norris – He’s 0-3 with a 6.55 ERA in four road starts.

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