Righty Kip Wells returns to the majors for the first time since 2009 tonight when the San Diego Padres aim for a second straight win in the second of four games with the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.
Wells, the 16th overall pick in the 1998 draft by the Chicago White Sox, played for eight teams across 289 appearances in 11 seasons between 1999 and 2009 - most recently going 2-3 in 10 appearances with the Cincinnati Reds.
He made seven starts for the San Diego affiliate at Triple-A Tucson and was 1-4 with a 4.97 earned run average across 38 innings, walking 20 batters and striking out 16.
Wells was a double-digit winner three times with the White Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates between 2001 and 2003, winning a career-high 12 games with the Pirates in 33 starts in 2002.
He's won just 12 times since 2006 while pitching for Pittsburgh, Texas, St. Louis, Colorado, Kansas City, Washington and Cincinnati.
In 20 career meetings with the Astros, he is 4-9.
"He's pitched in major league games, and he's pitched in a lot of them," Padres manager Bud Black said. "The expectation is you hope for the best, for him and the club, and he goes out and pitches a good ballgame."
He'll be opposed by Houston righty Jordan Lyles, who was 7 years old when Wells was drafted and will appear in his 29th major-league game.
The North Carolina native, a supplemental draft pick in 2008, debuted for the Astros last season and was 2-8 in 20 games with a 5.36 ERA in 94 innings.
He made his first start of 2012 on April 29 and got a no-decision against Cincinnati, ultimately pitching four times before defeating the Reds, 5-3, for his first and only victory of the season.
In three starts since, he's 0-3 while allowing 12 runs on 18 hits in 15 2/3 innings against the White Sox, Rangers and Royals, games in which Houston has been outscored, 18-4.
Lyles dropped his lone career meeting with the Padres last season, a 7-2 verdict on June 5 in which he allowed four runs on five hits in four innings of his second major-league game.
On Monday, Carlos Quentin clubbed a go-ahead RBI double in the top of the 10th inning to lift the Padres to an 8-7 victory.
Brandon Lyon (0-2) entered in the 10th for the Astros and issued a one-out walk to Chase Headley. Headley quickly swiped second before coming around to score on Quentin's go-ahead double to right.
"The last number of games for Carlos, he's just been a tick off. So hopefully, two hits tonight, hard line drives up the middle the other way, gets him going again," Black said. "That was a huge hit."
Huston Street fired a scoreless bottom of the 10th to record his 11th save of the year and nail down San Diego's third win in its last four tries.
Jesus Guzman crushed a two-run homer in the eighth, while Dale Thayer (1-2) earned the victory after tossing a perfect ninth.
The Padres won five of eight games with the Astros in 2011 and five of seven in 2010. Houston last won the season series between the teams in 2009, taking six of seven games.