Houston Astros (29-57) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (44-41)

HOU Wandy Rodriguez (6-4, 2.97 ERA) vs PIT Jeff Karstens (6-4, 2.65 ERA)

Pre-Game Buzz

*The Pirates who have won 9 of 13, look to move four games above .500 for the first time this late in the season since 1992.
With yesterday’s victory, the Pirates moved to 20-20 at home.
*The Astros are 6-23 since June 3, having lost four straight and nine of 10. Beating teams they should, the Pirates are 6-1 against the Astros this season.

*Jeff Karstens takes his team leading 2.65 ERA to the mound for the Pirates and is coming off an excellent month in June, where he went 3-0 with a 1.52 ERA in six starts.
Karstens has allowed 3 earned runs or fewer in 12 straight starts and has yielded two earned runs or fewer in nine of his last 10 starts.
A major part of Karstens success has been his ability not to walk batters. Karstens has issued just seven walks in his last 52 1/3 innings pitched, a span of eight starts.
Karstens is 1-0 against the Astros this season, pitching 6 2/3 shutout innings in the Pirates 1-0 win vs the Astros on June 14th.
*In what could be a strong pitching matchup tonight, Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez (6-4, 2.97 ERA) has been one of the few bright spots for the Astros.
Rodriguez is 4-0 in his last four starts against the Pirates, yeilding a 1.19 ERA. He is 1-0 against Pittsburgh this season, allowing 5 hits and 2 runs in the Astros 3-2 victory on May 6th.
In 3 of his last 4 starts, Rodriguez has allowed 0 earned runs and posted a 1.80 ERA in the month of June.
In his last outing (6/30 vs TEXAS), Rodriguez pitched seven shutout innings, allowing four hits and striking out four.
*Alex Presley whose batting .364 since his callup, is tied with Andrew McCutchen with 12 hits since 6/28/11
*Brandon Wood gets the start at third base tonight with Joss Harrison sidelined.

Pirates Lineup

1. Alex Presley, LF
2. Chase d’Arnaud, SS
3. Matt Diaz, RF
4. Andrew McCutchen, CF
5. Neil Walker, 2B
6. Lyle Overbay, 1B
7. Brandon Wood, 3B
8. Mike McKenry, C
9. Jeff Karstens, P