The Astros will play a member of the National League for the first time since they joined the American League when they visit the Pirates at PNC Park for a three-game weekend series.
A couple of right-handers will take the mound on Friday, when Jordan Lyles is scheduled to throw for Houston opposite Pittsburgh starter Jeanmar Gomez.
"We're looking forward to going to Pittsburgh and playing the National League style of baseball again," Astros manager Bo Porter said.
"Just thinking about it is a little different, but during the game, it's baseball," Lyles said. "It's still the same. I don't think guys will be thinking about it too much."
In five starts against the Pirates, Lyles is 0-4 with a 7.77 ERA. At PNC Park, his ERA is 11.42.
"Faced them a couple times, hadn't had my way with them," Lyles said. "They've had their way, just needed to attack the zone. I know they have a lot of lefties in their lineup, and their heart of the lineup is pretty good with [Andrew] McCutchen. So got to make pitches and attack the lower half of the zone."
A quarter of the way through the season, McCutchen is hitting just .265 for the Pirates, and fellow slugger Pedro Alvarez (.188) is also scuffling. Still, the Pirates have had a considerable amount of injuries in the rotation, but with a 24-17 record, manager Clint Hurdle is pleased with his team.
"I like the rotation now, and depth has never been better," Hurdle said. "I like what the bullpen's doing. ... Offensively the lineup has never been deeper. We've still got some guys in house that we think are capable of doing more, and we've got some guys we've been getting fantastic production from. I like the direction that we're headed. I like the direction and attitude that we've been putting out there."
For the season, Lyles is 1-1 with an 8.36 ERA. His mound opponent on Friday, Gomez, is 2-0 with a 2.28 ERA.
Gomez's most recent win came against Seattle on May 7, when he filled in for an injured James McDonald. In his last outing, he allowed one run in five frames, but got a no-decision. There are plenty of factors at play with whether Gomez's stay in the rotation will be an extended one.
"A couple things to be considered: his productivity, Morton's health," Hurdle said. "He's got three more starts in rehab. [Jeff Locke is] starting to ramp his up. James McDonald played flat ground catch today, so that's still down the road. We'll see where it takes us. We'll keep our eyes on what's down below as well."
Astros: Martinez producing
Houston's 7-5 win on Wednesday snapped a six-game losing streak. Catcher Carlos Corporan and outfielder J.D. Martinez both homered in the victory.
Martinez, who only recently became an everyday outfielder, has caught Porter's attention.
"He's one of those guys that when he gets going, he can get going. He's a run producer," Porter said, "and again, that's led to the decision of giving him an opportunity to play every day. We believe he's a guy that can be a middle-of-the-order run producer, and we'll see where it goes."
Martinez is batting .246 with three home runs and 11 RBIs.
Pirates: Mercer back up for Buccos
The Pirates announced on Wednesday that Jordy Mercer has been recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis to replace injured infielder John McDonald, who went on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain.
In nine games with Pittsburgh this season, Mercer is batting .258 (8-for-31) with three home runs and four RBIs.
"He added value for us, and for himself, while he was here. He played very well. I'm a fan. In 2014, he could very well be the guy who gets to play shortstop," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said after Mercer's last big league stint. "Coming out of Spring Training, we all felt his time was coming -- and it might very well be this season."
• Pittsburgh went 12-5 against Houston last season.
• Earlier this month, the Pirates split a two-game series with Seattle in their only Interleague encounter of 2013.
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.