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'Stros Head To Pittsburgh To Attempt To Begin Final Stretch On High Note

(Sports Network) - Durable righty Brett Myers goes for a 32nd straight six- plus inning outing tonight when the Houston Astros visit PNC Park for the opener of a three-game weekend set with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Myers, who's won five straight decisions, has established an Astros' record by pitching at least six innings in all 31 of his starts this season -- his first with the team after eight years in Philadelphia.

The 30-year-old pitched a career-high 215 1/3 innings while going 13-8 for the Phillies in 2005, but will exceed that workload with 3 2/3 more innings this season with the Astros.

One more win in 2010 will also equal the career-best he established in 2003 when he was 14-9 over 32 starts in his first full major-league season.

He is 5-4 with a complete game and a 2.50 earned run average in 11 career meetings with the Pirates, including a no-decision on Aug. 13 when he allowed seven hits and a run in seven innings.

For Pittsburgh, righty James McDonald makes his first start against the Astros and faces them for the first time since joining the Pirates at the trade deadline. The 25-year-old has one relief outing against Houston in his 62- appearance major-league career, allowing hits to both batters he faced.

He's shifted exclusively to starting since his arrival in Pennsylvania and is 4-4 with a 3.50 ERA in 54 innings of work, including a 9-6 defeat of Arizona in his last outing Sept. 18.

In that game, a 9-6 win, he allowed four hits and two runs in five innings, walking four and striking out six.

On Thursday in Pittsburgh, Albert Pujols hit two home runs as St. Louis took a 9-2 win to avoid a three-game sweep at PNC Park.

Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez each drove in a run for the Pirates, who had a season-high five-game winning streak stopped. Brian Burres (3-4) was tagged for four runs on six hits in 2 1/3 innings as the Pirates lost their 99th game of the season.

The Pirates have lost 90 or more games each year since 2005, but haven't dropped 100 in a season since going 62-100 in 2001.

In Washington, Mike Morse went 2-for-3 with a home run and three runs batted in, as the Nationals beat the Astros, 7-2, in the finale of a four-game series.

Astros starter Nelson Figueroa (5-4) allowed five runs on six hits and one walk in six innings to take the loss.

Jeff Keppinger went 3-for-4 with a walk and drove in a run for Houston, which has dropped five of eight.

The Astros have won three straight and 10 of 12 versus the Pirates this year. They are 20-7 versus the Buccos since the start of 2009.

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