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Houston at Pittsburgh

Venue: PNC Park

The Houston Astros' transition to the AL hasn't gone very smoothly, but their first trip to an NL park may be able to give them a jolt.

Houston opens a three-game set against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night looking to prevent its former NL Central rivals from winning for a seventh time in eight tries.

After 51 seasons in the NL, the Astros were shifted to the AL West to balance out the divisions. The results have been similar, though, since they moved, getting off to an 11-30 start - tied with Miami for baseball's worst record - after finishing 56-106 in 2011 and 55-107 last season.

Houston has yet to play an interleague series, and manager Bo Porter doesn't discount that playing in an NL park could help his club.

"We're looking forward to going to Pittsburgh and playing the National League style of baseball again," Porter told the team's official website.

Houston snapped a six-game losing streak with a 7-5 win over Detroit on Wednesday, as J.D. Martinez hit a three-run homer.

Martinez went 5 for 10 with four extra-base hits in the three-game series with Detroit after going hitless with six strikeouts in his previous 10 at-bats.

"When he gets going ... he's a run producer," Porter said, "That's led to the decision of giving him an opportunity to play every day. We believe he's a guy that can be a middle-of-the-order run producer."

Jordan Lyles has gotten the opportunity to be a part of Houston's starting rotation after a rough spring had him beginning the season in the minors, but he's been largely unimpressive in three big league outings.

Lyles (1-1, 8.36 ERA) gave up a career-worst eight runs and 11 hits and also balked in a run in four innings of a 12-7 loss to Texas on Sunday.

He hasn't been very good against the Pirates, either, going 0-4 with a 7.77 ERA in five starts.

"Faced them a couple times, hadn't had my way with them," Lyles told the team's official website. "Their heart of the lineup is pretty good with (Andrew) McCutchen, so I've got to make pitches."

McCutchen is hitting just .265 this season after setting career highs in average (.327), homers (31) and RBIs (96) in 2012, but he went 2 for 5 with an RBI single in Thursday's 7-1 win over Milwaukee.

The Pirates (24-17) have won six of seven, outscoring opponents 36-17 in that stretch.

"We're in a good place right now," manager Clint Hurdle said.

McCutchen hit .381 with two homers and six doubles as Pittsburgh went 12-5 versus the Astros last season, winning eight of 10 at home.

The Pirates look to get this series started on a positive note with help from starting pitcher Jeanmar Gomez, who has shined since entering the rotation.

Gomez (2-0, 2.28) is 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in three starts after giving up one run and two hits in five innings of Sunday's 3-2 win over the New York Mets.

The right-hander has taken advantage of his opportunity with the Pirates after going 2-6 with an 8.74 ERA in his last 10 starts of 2012 with Cleveland. One of those outings came against Houston on June 23, when he allowed five runs - including a two-run homer to Martinez - in 5 2-3 innings of an 8-1 defeat.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Probable Starters

Jordan Lyles, RHP
2013 stats
14.0 Innings Pitched 27.2
1-1 Wins-Losses 2-0
8.36 Earned Run Average 2.28
6 Walks 12
13 Strikeouts 18
86 Pitches Per Start 70
Career vs. opponent
24.1 Innings Pitched 5.2
0-4 Wins-Losses 0-1
7.77 Earned Run Average 7.94

Jeanmar Gomez, RHP
weather image  Sprinkles late. Partly sunny. Pleasantly warm.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Houston4th AL West5574.426226-4 W 1
Pittsburgh3rd NL Central6662.51653-7 W 2
vs Jeanmar Gomez
vs Jordan Lyles
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Game Odds
Houston 180 Pittsburgh -190
M. AlbersShoulder
J. CisneroElbow
J. CrainBiceps, calf
D. DownsOblique
B. PeacockForearm
A. PresleyOblique
G. SpringerKnee, quadriceps
J. ZeidFoot
C. BarmesGroin
C. MortonHernia
S. PimentelAnkle
Series Game Log
Apr 11MILMIL 4-2Peralta Liriano 
Apr 12MILMIL 3-2Henderson Melancon 
Apr 13MILMIL 4-1Lohse Morton 
Apr 17PITPIT 11-2Volquez Wooten 
Apr 18PITMIL 5-3Lohse Morton 
Apr 19PITMIL 8-7Henderson Grilli 
Apr 20PITMIL 3-2Duke Gomez 
May 13MILMIL 5-2Estrada Cole 
May 14MILPIT 4-1Watson Rodriguez 
May 15MILMIL 4-3Wooten Melancon 
Jun 6PITPIT 15-5Cumpton Lohse 
Jun 7PITMIL 9-3Garza Volquez 
Jun 8PITMIL 1-0Gallardo Locke 
Aug 22MILPIT 8-3Locke Gallardo 
Aug 23MIL 7:10 PM EDT  
Aug 24MIL 2:10 PM EDT  
Sep 19PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
Sep 20PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
Sep 21PIT 1:35 PM EDT