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04/20/08 8:15 PM ET

Valverde right in time for Padres

Houston (7-12) vs. San Diego (9-10), Monday, 7:05 p.m. CT

HOUSTON -- Jose Valverde had a smile on his face Sunday, something he hadn't been wearing a lot lately after blowing consecutive saves. But the Astros closer was back in form with a scoreless frame against the Rockies that helped secure Houston's win and Valverde's 100th career save.

"It's awesome, not too many guys have 100 saves right now," Valverde said. "I got the ball. My daughter has it right now."

Valverde rewarded Astros manager Cecil Cooper for his confidence in him by staying with the right-hander -- Valverde entered Sunday's game with two blown saves and a 12.27 ERA -- and both parties are pleased as the Astros get set to host the San Diego Padres for a two-game series beginning Monday at Minute Maid Park.

"It was like he was his old self again -- kind of aggressive and going after them," Cooper said. "I've got confidence in him. I think he's going to be the guy that we thought we were getting back in the winter time. This guy's got a good arm, he's just had a little problem with his split. We made one little mechanical change with the way he was setting up to deliver the ball."

Valverde said he feels like he did last year, when he led the Major Leagues with 47 saves.

"My stuff's working -- my fastball, my cutter, my splitter," he said. "This is the best I've felt this year. The emotion I have right now for today and for the game is the emotion I had last year."

Valverde said Cooper's confidence in him while he was struggling meant a lot. He hopes to continue to reward that confidence with more saves in the months ahead.

"All he has to do now is locate," Cooper said. "He's our closer, nothing's changed."

Pitching matchup
HOU: RHP Roy Oswalt (1-3, 6.65 ERA)
Oswalt had his best outing of the season with a strong seven-inning performance in a 2-1 victory over the Phillies on Wednesday. He threw 92 pitches, 65 for strikes, and had excellent command of both his fastball and curveball. Oswalt allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings in an Opening Day loss at San Diego against Padres ace and good friend Jake Peavy. For his career, Oswalt is 7-2 with a 2.49 ERA in 12 games (10 starts) against San Diego.

SD: RHP Justin Germano (0-1, 1.35 ERA)
Germano allowed his first runs of the season in his Tuesday start against the Rockies as the Padres fell, 3-2. Germano's command was shaky early, as he walked two in the first inning. One of those walks came around to score. But to his credit, he yielded just one run over his final five frames. This will be Germano's first look at the Astros this season. He lost to the Astros in his only start against them last season, allowing three runs in six innings.

The Astros haven't see a lot of Germano, but they have had success in their limited opportunities against the right-hander. Miguel Tejada is 2-for-3 against Germano, while Brad Ausmus (1-for-2), Carlos Lee (1-for-1), Kazuo Matsui (2-for-6 with a homer) and Ty Wigginton (2-for-4) have recorded hits against the Padres pitcher. Lance Berkman, Mark Loretta and Tomas Perez are each 0-for-2 against Germano. ... Of the current Padres, Oswalt has had the most trouble against Michael Barrett (12-for-32, .375). ... The Astros placed lefty starter Wandy Rodriguez on the 15-day disabled list and purchased the contract of left-hander Tim Byrdak from Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday. ... Geoff Blum snapped an 0-for-12 streak with a single in the fourth inning.

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On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
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Up next
• Tuesday: Astros (Brandon Backe, 1-2, 4.26) vs. Padres (Jake Peavy, 3-0, 1.20), 7:05 p.m. CT
• Wednesday: Astros (Chris Sampson, 0-2, 8.74) at Reds (Bronson Arroyo, 0-2, 5.48), 6:10 p.m. CT
• Thursday: Astros (TBD) at Reds (TBD), 11:35 a.m. CT

Jim Molony is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.