Suddenly, the Astros do not look like easy marks. They have won five straight, including the last four on the road against the Phillies. Houston is just a game behind Milwaukee for third place in the NL Central. The Astros aren't close to post season hopes, but finishing the season in third would be quiite an achievement for a team that had a terrible first half.

The Mets blew a chance to gain on the second-place Phillies, with New York losing  two-of-three to Florida. The third place Marlins left town with a 1 1/2 game lead over the Mets.

 

Probable starters for the three-game series:

Tonight: Mike Pelfrey (12-7, 3.80) vs. Nelson Figueroa (3-1, 2.98).

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Saturday: Johan Santana (10-8, 2.94) vs. Brett Myers (9-7, 3.08)

Sunday: R.A. Dickey (8-5, 2.64) vs. Bud Norris (6-7, 5.03).