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Mon, Jul 16, 2012 - 10:05 PM ET
 

Astros-Padres Preview

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The Houston Astros are on the verge of the longest single-season road losing streak in franchise history but might have a favorable matchup in their attempt to avoid that dubious feat.

The Astros defeated San Diego Padres right-hander Kip Wells in his return to the majors last month and will try to record another win over the Houston native on Monday night.

A 3-2 loss to San Francisco on Sunday was Houston's 13th in a row away from home, and matched losing streaks from June 1990 and April 1969.

"We want to fix this road thing we have going on," third baseman Chris Johnson told the team's website. "There is still time for us to turn it around. We have to start playing better baseball on the road and figure out how to win these close games."

The Astros (33-56) have batted .202 and been outscored 70-33 while losing 13 of 14 overall, a stretch that began with a 7-3 home loss to San Diego (36-54) on June 28.

Houston had won two of the first three games in that series, including a 5-3 victory on June 26. Wells (1-2, 2.50 ERA) was called up from Triple-A Tucson before that game for his first start in the majors since Oct. 1, 2009.

The right-hander, who was signed to a minor league deal with San Diego on May 8, gave up five runs - two earned - over five innings and didn't help himself with a pair of miscues in his final frame. He made an errant throw on a potential double-play grounder and his wild pitch led to the first of four runs in that inning.

After throwing seven scoreless innings in Colorado on July 1, Wells allowed three runs - on a pair of homers - over six innings in a 6-0 defeat to Cincinnati five days later.

"For the most part, they barreled a couple balls, but by and large they hit (two) home runs off me and were within five feet of still being in the field of play, so that's kind of unfortunate, but it happens," he told the team's website.

Wells is 4-10 with a 5.38 ERA in 19 career starts against his hometown team and 0-4 with a 7.67 ERA in his last five. In this matchup, he'll pitch opposite J.A. Happ (6-9, 5.14), who struggled in his most recent outing after a promising stretch.

The left-hander was 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA in his three starts before a 7-1 loss to Milwaukee on July 6. He was tagged for seven runs - including a career high-tying three homers - over 6 1-3 innings in that game.

Happ was 0-2 with a 4.85 ERA in two starts against the Padres last season, and Chris Denorfia went 3 for 5 with two homers against him in those games.

San Diego enters this series after scoring a combined 14 runs in back-to-back victories over the Los Angeles Dodgers this weekend. The Padres had scored eight runs while dropping their four previous contests.

San Diego has won six of the past seven home matchups with Houston.

Tagged: Astros, Padres, Kip Wells, J.A. Happ

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