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08/27/09 5:45 PM ET

Pence's pine time a learning experience

Houston (62-65) at Arizona (55-72), 8:40 p.m. CT

ST. LOUIS -- Hunter Pence is expected to return to the starting lineup in right field Friday when the Astros open a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Pence was out of the starting lineup in two of the previous four games and has struggled at the plate in August.

Pence didn't start in right field on Sunday against Arizona at Minute Maid Park and Thursday against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Going 0-for-1 after entering Thursday's game on defense, Pence is hitting .212 (18-for-85) in August. He snapped an 0-for-11 streak on Wednesday.

Pence is 0-for-8 in his career with five strikeouts against Chris Carpenter, who started Thursday's series finale for the Cards. He's 0-for-3 with three strikeouts against Max Scherzer, who starts Friday for Arizona.

"I'm going to continue to work and continue to learn," Pence said. "When you fail in this game, you learn from it. I wouldn't say that I've been a complete failure. You go through ups and downs, but you've got to learn and figure out a way to turn it around. I'm going to continue to work until we get back to the postseason."

Pence made his first All-Star Game this year after hitting .298 with 11 homers and 37 RBIs in the first half of the season, buoyed by a terrific May in which he hit .388. He hit .257 in June and .245 in July, before slumping in August.

Still, Pence manages to keep an even keel and has been putting in the work to get back on track.

"I get angry from time to time," he said. "When I was a kid, I learned that doesn't get you anywhere. Punching the wall doesn't do anything. You learn that at a young age, to keep that in and old your head high and continue to learn on those things. After a little bit of time, it goes away. You're going to be hot for a little bit, and then it goes away."

Pitching matchup
HOU: RHP Yorman Bazardo (0-0, 4.50 ERA)
Bazardo makes his fourth career start and second of the season for the Astros. The right-hander, who made his 2009 debut Aug. 8 after spending most of the season at Triple-A Round Rock, gave up six hits, four walks and two runs in 4 2/3 innings in Saturday's win at Milwaukee, though he didn't get a decision. At Round Rock this year, he was 9-6 with a 3.20 ERA in 23 games, including 20 starts.

ARI: RHP Max Scherzer (7-8, 4.12 ERA)
Scherzer has lost back-to-back games and has won just two games since June 23. The right-hander allowed four runs on seven hits over five innings against the Astros on Saturday in Houston. Scherzer was more aggressive with his pitches early in the count, which was something he had to work on after allowing nine runs in his start before that to the Braves in Atlanta. The Astros, though, were relentless at the plate, and Scherzer's inability to put away Kaz Matsui and Geoff Blum with two strikes helped lead to his downfall.

Left fielder Carlos Lee is the 10th player in Major League history to reach 20 homers in each year of an entire decade. Lance Berkman needs two homers to join Lee and Alex Rodriguez as the only players to have done it in the 2000s. ... Center fielder Michael Bourn needs four more stolen bases to become the sixth Astros player to reach 50 in a season and first since Craig Biggio in 1998. ... The Astros are 21-12 against the National League West this year, taking two of three games from Arizona once in Houston and once in Phoenix earlier this year.

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On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• KTRH 740, KLAT 1010 (Español)

Up next
• Saturday: Astros (Bud Norris, 3-2, 5.86) at D-backs (Jon Garland, 7-11, 4.48), 7:10 p.m. CT
• Sunday: Astros (TBD) at D-backs (Dan Haren, 12-8, 2.73), 3:10 p.m. CT
• Monday: Astros (TBD) at Cubs (Rich Harden, 8-7, 3.99), 7:05 p.m. CT

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