With six starters on the disabled list, San Diego called up journeyman pitcher Kip Wells to start Tuesday night's game against the Astros at Minute Maid Park. Wells, who is from the Houston area and still lives there, had been pitching at Tucson. The Padres will have to make a roster move prior to Tuesday's game to make room for Wells.
"It's good on multiple levels," Wells said of playing in Houston, "just because I get to come home and at least repack and see my family and my kids and sleep in my own bed."
Wells, 35, hasn't pitched at the Major League level since 2009 when he was with the Reds. He had a 4.97 ERA in seven starts with Tucson.
Regardless of the circumstances, Wells was happy to get the call.
"Being retired is overrated," he said. "It wasn't necessarily an elective path that I took. People always talk about retiring, looking forward to it. I'm not meant to be sitting around doing nothing.
"Once you've been at this level for any extent of time, there's nothing that compares to it. It's like playing from the white tees instead of the tips in golf. If you know it's more challenging somewhere else, you always want to be in the place where you're forced to bring your 'A' game."
Wells will have little time to settle in as he faces a Houston offense that has suddenly gotten hot. The Astros have scored 22 runs over the last three games, including seven in their 8-7 loss in 10 innings on Monday night.
The Astros will turn to Jordan Lyles, who is coming off one of the best starts of his career last Wednesday against the Royals. Lyles, 21, allowed only two runs on three hits over seven innings, but he took the loss due to a lack of run support.
With Lyles (1-4, 5.04 ERA) holding up his end of the bargain of late, Astros starters have posted a 2.47 ERA in the last eight games. They had an 8.27 ERA in the 15 starts prior to that.
"The leaf had to turn at some point," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "We worked through a tough stretch there and they were so good for so long early. We went through a long stretch facing some tough ballclubs, as well. Sometimes, you have to go through those things.
"So many times, you see guys throwing the ball well, but you're not able to score runs and then they're not able to throw well and we're able to score runs. It's turned now, and the guys have a lot of confidence and are throwing the ball really well."
Padres: Alonso hopeful for Tuesday return
• Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso missed his second straight game with a sore left knee on Monday. Manager Bud Black said Alonso was feeling better, and was optimistic he could return for Tuesday's game.
Alonso had an injection in the knee on Saturday night, and doctors said he would need 48-72 hours to feel healthy. Alonso is hitting .254 with two home runs and 18 RBIs this season.
• The Padres claimed right-handed pitcher Mark Hamburger off waivers from the Rangers on Monday. Hamburger, 25, was optioned to Triple-A Tucson. He made 21 appearances at Triple-A Round Rock this season, going 0-2 with a 6.55 ERA.
Astros: Altuve misses Monday's game with hamstring injury
• Astros second baseman Jose Altuve was out of the lineup for Monday night's game after straining his right hamstring on Sunday. Altuve said he was feeling better before Monday's game.
"It's feeling good," Altuve said. "It will only be a couple of days, but that's it. It's not going to be a long time. I'm going to do everything like I do when I normally work out."
Brian Bixler started in place of Altuve on Monday, and he made the most of his opportunity. Bixler hit a leadoff home run against the Padres, and went 2-for-5 with a walk in the game. Bixler is hitting .295 with two homers and six RBIs in limited playing time this season.
• Right-hander Bud Norris, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained knee, will rejoin the Astros rotation this week. Mills said a decision will be made Wednesday about who Norris will replace in the rotation.
• Carlos Lee's solo home run in the first inning Monday night was his first homer since May 19 for Houston. He's hitting .299 with five homers and 29 RBIs on the season.
• Padres catcher Nick Hundley went 2-for-4 on Monday, his second multi-hit game in his last four after going nearly two months without one.