Thursday, July 19, 2012

Houston Astros (34-58) at San Diego Padres (38-55), 10:05 p.m. (ET) - Kansas City Star

By Sports Network

The Sports Network

Updated: 2012-07-20T02:44:52Z

The San Diego Padres have been scoring runs at a rapid pace lately and target a series victory tonight versus the Houston Astros in the finale of a four-game set from Petco Park.

The Padres have scored seven or more runs in four of their last five games and recorded an 8-4 win over the Astros Wednesday afternoon. Yonder Alonso drove in three runs in a 2-for-4 effort at the plate, Chris Denorfia added two RBI and Chase Headley was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored.Clayton Richard bumped his record to 7-10 in the start for San Diego and allowed four runs in 8 1/3 innings. Huston Street later notched his 15th save by getting the final out of the game."Clayton had a great day," said Padres manager Bud Black. "He set the tone."Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin returned from a two-game absence because of a sore left knee and went 1-for-3 with a run scored. Outfielder Cameron Maybin was a late scratch with a sore right wrist and is day-to-day. Denorfia played center field in Maybin's absence for the Padres, winners in two straight and four of five contests.Edinson Volquez draws the start for the Padres tonight and he has won three of his last four decisions. He has recorded back-to-back no-decisions and last toed the rubber in a 7-6 win at Los Angeles on Saturday, when he was reached for four runs and eight hits in five innings.Volquez, who is 5-7 with a 3.69 ERA in 19 starts, has fared very well in his career against Houston, going 5-0 with a 2.53 ERA in seven starts.The Padres will host Colorado for three games over the weekend.Meanwhile, the Astros are 1-5 on a 10-game road trip and fell to 10-37 away from Minute Maid Park this season.Wandy Rodriguez was saddled with the loss on Wednesday and allowed five runs in four innings of work. He saw his National League-leading streak of 48 consecutive starts of at least five innings come to an end.Rodriguez's five-inning streak was the third-longest active run in the major leagues behind the Yankees' CC Sabathia (76 games) and the Tigers' Justin Verlander (71 games).Matt Downs hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning and a solo blast in the ninth for the Astros, who have lost 15 of their last 17 games."I don't know if I've done that since little league. I've never hit a multi- homer game. It is a great accomplishment, I guess, for me, but still we lost," said Downs.The Astros also will visit Arizona for three games on this road trip and hope Lucas Harrell can pitch the ballclub to a series split tonight. Harrell has posted consecutive no-decisions and previously pitched in Saturday's 3-2 loss at San Francisco, as he hurled five innings of one-run ball.Harrell, a right-hander, is 7-6 with a 4.43 ERA in 18 starts this season and faced San Diego for the first time in his career in June 27 in a 1-0 win. He posted his first career shutout and complete game in that one, and allowed six hits with seven strikeouts and four walks.San Diego leads the season series with Houston by a 4-3 margin and has won seven of the past 10 matchups between the two clubs.

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