Newman takes 14-game hit streak into matchup with Astros
Pittsburgh Pirates (37-41, fourth in the NL Central) vs. Houston Astros (50-31, first in the NL West)
Houston; Thursday, 2 p.m. EDT
PITCHING PROBABLES: Pirates: Joe Musgrove (5-7, 4.57 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 69 strikeouts) Astros: Brad Peacock (6-5, 3.62 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 87 strikeouts)
LINE: Astros favored by 1 1/2 runs; over/under is 9 1/2 runs
BOTTOM LINE: Kevin Newman is riding a 14-game hitting streak as Pittsburgh readies to play Houston.
The Astros are 28-12 in home games. The Houston offense has compiled a .267 batting average as a team this season, good for second in the league. Michael Brantley leads the team with an average of .317.
The Pirates are 20-22 in road games. Pittsburgh ranks fifth in the majors in hitting with a .264 batting average, Bryan Reynolds leads the club with an average of .367. The Pirates won the last meeting 14-2. Dario Agrazal earned his first victory and Newman went 4-for-6 with a home run and three RBIs for Pittsburgh. Framber Valdez registered his fourth loss for Houston.
TOP PERFORMERS: Alex Bregman leads the Astros with 22 home runs and has 52 RBIs. Yordan Alvarez is 9-for-39 with three doubles, three home runs and 10 RBIs over the last 10 games for Houston.
Josh Bell leads the Pirates with 21 home runs and has 68 RBIs. Jose Osuna is 9-for-20 with a double, three home runs and nine RBIs over the last 10 games for Pittsburgh.
LAST 10 GAMES: Astros: 2-8, .265 batting average, 6.38 ERA, outscored by 27 runs
Pirates: 7-3, .313 batting average, 3.80 ERA, outscored opponents by 24 runs
Astros Injuries: Joe Smith: 10-day IL (achilles), Lance McCullers Jr.: 60-day IL (elbow), Aledmys Diaz: 10-day IL (hamstring), Carlos Correa: 10-day IL (rib).
Pirates Injuries: Jameson Taillon: 60-day IL (elbow), Edgar Santana: 60-day IL (elbow), Jordan Lyles: 10-day IL (hamstring), Chad Kuhl: 60-day IL (elbow), Keone Kela: 60-day IL (shoulder), Rookie Davis: 10-day IL (finger/forearm), Nick Burdi: 60-day IL (biceps), Gregory Polanco: 10-day IL (shoulder), Lonnie Chisenhall: 60-day IL (finger), Erik Gonzalez: 60-day IL (collarbone), Francisco Cervelli: 10-day IL (concussion).