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News » Astros-Diamondbacks Preview 2008-04-29

Astros-Diamondbacks Preview 2008-04-29

Astros-Diamondbacks Preview 2008-04-29
The Arizona Diamondbacks' success at home is a big reason why they have the best record in the majors.

The Houston Astros know just how tough it is to win at Chase Field.

The Diamondbacks look to win their sixth straight against the Astros when the teams continue a three-game series on Tuesday.

Arizona (19-7) improved its major-league best record on Monday with a 5-3 win over the Astros (12-15) - its fifth victory over Houston overall and sixth straight over the Astros at Chase Field.

"We're playing good baseball right now," said Diamondbacks first baseman Conor Jackson, who went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. "We need to focus on what we're doing well and keep doing it."

Jackson is batting .375 (15-for-40) at Chase Field this season.

Monday's win was the fourth win in five games overall for the Diamondbacks, who improved to 10-2 at home. Starting pitching has been a big reason for the success, as the Arizona rotation has a 3.25 ERA at Chase Field.

However, manager Bob Melvin said the early success doesn't mean much if the Diamondbacks can't sustain it.

"We just keep our nose to the grindstone and play every day," Melvin said. "You can't help but to take a look at the start we've had but it's just that - a start."

The Astros, meanwhile, are looking to avoid losing four straight for the first time this season. They've lost three straight on the heels of a season-high six-game winning streak, and have managed only seven runs during the skid.

On Tuesday, the Astros managed just five hits. They loaded the bases in the fifth, but were unable to score any runs after Kazuo Matsui popped out and Michael Bourn struck out.

"We come through right there and it's a whole different ballgame," Astros manager Cecil Cooper said. "We need to get two-out base hits. That's what got us on our winning streak and that's what we need again."

Miguel Tejada had an RBI double to reach base safely for the 10th straight game. The Astros shortstop is hitting .381 with four doubles and nine runs scored during that stretch.

Houston sends Jack Cassel (1-0, 5.40 ERA) to the mound Tuesday.

The right-hander allowed three runs and seven hits in five innings in his season debut Thursday, a 5-3 win over the Reds. All three runs came in the first two innings.

"I think today might have been nerves or something, he might have been too cautious early," Cooper said of Cassel, whose only previous major league experience was six appearances with San Diego last season. "But after the first couple of innings, the last two or three, he pitched well. He mixed his pitches well and just went right after them."

Cassel has never faced the Diamondbacks.

Edgar Gonzalez (1-1, 4.66) gets the start for Arizona. The right-hander earned his first win in four starts this season Thursday, when he allowed three runs over 5 1-3 innings of a 6-4 win at Los Angeles.

Gonzalez is 1-2 with an 8.56 ERA in three career starts against the Astros.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 29, 2008

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