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Astros Look To Extend Winning Streak To Four In San Diego

(Sports Network) - The Houston Astros are on a hot streak after sweeping the Chicago Cubs in three games for the first time since 2008. They hope the momentum carries over into tonight's opener of a four-game series against the San Diego Padres at spacious Petco Park.

The Astros recorded a 3-1 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field for their first overall sweep since Aug. 30-Sept. 1, 2010 against St. Louis. Jason Michaels homered and Michael Bourn ended with two hits and two RBI for Houston, which won for the sixth time in 10 tries. Hunter Pence ended 1-for-4 and has hit safely in 13 straight games with multiple hits in nine of those contests.

Jeff Keppinger had two hits and has reached base in 10 of his 23 at-bats since coming off the disabled list last Friday. Astros starter Brett Myers posted the win with six innings of one-run ball and Mark Melancon later wrapped up his fourth save with two strikeouts in the ninth inning.

"We've been struggling a little bit, so hopefully now we can try to get this thing on track and start winning series," said Myers, who improved to 7-0 in his last eight starts against the Cubs and is now 12-3 lifetime with one save versus Chicago. "This is a boost for us."

Houston has won four in a row on the road and hopes Bud Norris can keep the streak going when he toes the rubber tonight at Petco Park. Norris may have trouble doing so since he is 0-3 with a 4.60 ERA in his last five starts with the Astros going 1-4 in that span.

Norris previously pitched in Saturday's 11-3 loss to Arizona and allowed six runs -- two earned -- on seven hits in five innings to fall to 2-4 with a 3.76 ERA in 11 starts this season. The right-hander is 0-3 in four road starts and beat San Diego on April 14 in a 1-0 win at Minute Maid Park, allowing two hits over six scoreless frames. He is 1-1 in three career starts against San Diego.

The Padres were aiming for a three-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves, but dropped a 4-3 decision on Wednesday at Turner Field in the finale of a six- game road trip in which they compiled a 4-2 mark.

Clayton Richard fell to 2-6 after he allowed three runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings, while Kyle Phillips ended with a two-run homer for San Diego, which had a season-best four-game winning streak halted.

"I think too many pitches were just elevated and they took advantage of them," Richard said of his performance.

Chase Headley extended his career-high hit streak to 11 games in defeat.

San Diego commences an 11-game homestand tonight versus the Astros, Rockies and Nationals, and will send Tim Stauffer to the mound Thursday. Stauffer finally cracked the win column his last time out in a 2-1 victory at Washington on Saturday, as he limited the hosts to one run over seven innings.

Stauffer, who is just 1-3 with a 3.60 earned run average in 11 starts, owns an 0-2 mark in five home outings this season and will face Houston for the third time in his career. The righty is 0-0 with a 7.27 ERA in the first two starts.

San Diego and Houston split a four-game series this season from April 14-17 at Minute Maid Park. The Padres have won five of the last seven matchups.

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