The Pirates now sit 5½ games back of a National League Wild Card spot after getting swept by the Milwaukee Brewers this week. Pittsburgh's 9-7 loss on Thursday was particularly stinging, as it was the result of a blown 7-4 lead in the eighth inning.
Working in the Pirates' favor, however, is their 11-3 overall record this season against the Astros, who were swept themselves by the St. Louis Cardinals this week and carry a major league-worst 102 losses into the weekend.
Jeff Locke (0-1, 5.49 ERA) makes the start for Pittsburgh after allowing five earned runs in 4⅓ innings on Sept. 16 against the Chicago Cubs, getting a no-decision in the contest. Houston will counter with Edgar Gonzalez (2-1, 4.40 ERA), who was touched up for five earned runs in four innings in his last appearance, a loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Sept. 14.
First pitch is set for 8:05 p.m. ET at Minute Maid Park. Root Sports will televise the contest.
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