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Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates (39-75) Take On The Houston Astros (48-65)

(Sports Network) - Right-hander Brett Myers can extend a commendable streak during an otherwise forgettable season tonight, when the Houston Astros take on the NL Central-rival Pittsburgh Pirates in the opener of a three-game series from Minute Maid Park.

The Astros and Pirates occupy fourth and sixth place in the division, respectively, separated only by the Chicago Cubs. Houston has dropped two games in a row and six of its last seven, while Pittsburgh has dropped four straight and six of eight contests.

Myers, in his first season with the Astros since coming over from Philadelphia, has been a symbol of durability, going six innings or more in each of his 23 starting assignments, the longest such streak in the majors this season.

The Jacksonville, Fla. native, who'll turn 30 on Tuesday, has beaten the Pirates twice in that stretch, combining to allow 16 hits and four runs with 10 strikeouts across 13 2/3 innings on April 25 and July 16.

He's 5-4 lifetime against the Pirates with a 2.64 earned run average.

Myers had won three straight decisions before his last outing, a 5-2 loss at Milwaukee on Aug. 7 in which he gave up seven hits and four runs in six innings.

For the Pirates, righty Ross Ohlendorf aims for just his second win in his 19th start of the season, and the first of his career against Houston.

The former Arizona Diamondbacks draft choice (fourth round, 2004) defeated the Phillies, 2-0, on July 2 with seven innings of five-hit ball with eight strikeouts, but had gone 0-6 beforehand and has dropped three straight verdicts since.

He was beaten, 4-0, by Cincinnati on Aug. 2, when got a no-decision five days later after allowing four hits and an earned run in six innings of the Pirates' 8-7 win over Colorado.

Ohlendorf took a loss and a no-decision in consecutive starts against the Astros on July 8 and 17 and is 0-6 against them in nine career appearances -- six starts -- with a 7.32 ERA in 35 2/3 innings.

On Thursday in San Diego, Jon Garland and three relievers combined on a shutout, while Ryan Ludwick hit a two-run homer as the Padres blanked the Pirates, 3-0, in the finale of a three-game series at Petco Park.

Zach Duke started on the mound and suffered the loss for the Pirates. Duke (5-11) was charged with all three runs -- two earned -- on six hits with two strikeouts and three walks.

On Wednesday in Atlanta, Brian McCann's grand slam capped a six-run 10th inning as the Atlanta downed the Astros, 8-2, in the finale of a three-game set.

Hunter Pence went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored while Chris Johnson drove in the other run for the Astros.

Wandy Rodriguez was effective over seven innings, giving up two runs -- one earned -- on five hits with a walk and nine strikeouts. Brandon Lyon (6-5) was tagged with the loss after giving up five runs in 1 1/3 frames.

Houston has won seven of nine matchups with Pittsburgh this season.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.