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Astros eye first three-game winning streak of season

(SportsNetwork.com) - Aiming to win three in a row for the first time this season, the Houston Astros may catch a break on Friday night. That's because the Chicago White Sox are expected to rest slugger Jose Abreu in the opener of a three-game series at Minute Maid Park.

Abreu, a 27-year-old rookie, leads all of baseball with 15 homers and is second with 41 RBI on top of a solid .271 average. He hit the deciding three- run homer in Wednesday's 4-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics to help the White Sox salvage the finale of a three-game set and snap a four-game overall slide.

Abreu played his sixth straight game at designated hitter as he is battling a nagging ankle issue, but it didn't sap his power on Wednesday night.

"I got the opportunity to hit a good pitch," Abreu said through a translator. "All I was doing was trying to hit a ball in the air to bring the guy in from third base. But I was able to get a good swing and a good pitch to hit."

Manager Robin Ventura, though, is likely to take advantage of Thursday's off day and rest Abreu on Friday to give him two days off.

"He's going to fight it, but I think it's probably a good time to do that for him, just to get him two days," Ventura told the White Sox's website. "He's still limping around. You look at it and you wince, but he is getting better. It might not look like it, but he is."

The Astros are hoping to get better as a club and are coming off their first series victory over the Texas Rangers since 2008. They were shut out in Monday's opener, but countered with an 8-0 win the following night before rallying for Wednesday's 5-4 win.

Houston trailed 4-0 after five innings, but completed the comeback in walk-off fashion. Dexter Fowler singled with one out in the ninth and Jason Castro walked before Matt Dominguez roped a liner off the wall in right to chase home Fowler.

Fowler reached base in all five of his plate appearances, going 3-for-3 with a pair of walks while scoring twice.

"We're just focused on winning a series," said Fowler. "We came out kind of slow but I am proud of the guys that battled back."

A model of consistency as of late, the Astros extended a franchise record by recording exactly 11 hits for a fifth game in a row.

Collin McHugh hopes the Astros keep swinging a solid bat as he faces the White Sox for the first time.

The 26-year-old righty makes his fifth start of the campaign as he gave up just one run over 15 1/3 innings in winning his first two starts. He then yielded five earned runs over four innings in a loss to Seattle on May 4, but rebounded with a solid effort in a no-decision at Baltimore on Saturday.

McHugh was charged with two runs, scattering seven hits and two walks over 6 1/3 innings. He is 2-1 on the season with a 2.81 earned run average.

Run support has been an issue for the White Sox's Jose Quintana as he is winless in his last six starts and 1-3 on the season despite a 3.67 ERA. He has allowed three runs or fewer in all but one of his eight outings on the year.

Quintana lost his third straight decision over his stretch, falling 4-3 to Arizona on Saturday. The 25-year-old southpaw gave up three runs on seven hits and a walk in six innings of work.

Quintana has faced the Astros twice before, posting a 3.65 ERA without a decision.

Houston won three of four at home against Chicago a season ago.