The Pirates set a season high for hits and runs to get Ross Ohlendorf off the hook as he only retired four hitters before being yanked.
The Pirates got to Houston starter Bud Norris early. Jose Tabata reached on a one out error from Chris Johnson. Neil Walker singled and Garrett Jones delivered a two run double. One out later, Lastings Milledge singled in Jones.
But Ohlendorf immediately hit a bump in the second. Hunter Pence led off with a homer. The next five hitters reached base, with three more runs crossing the plate (including a pair on a double from Michael Bourn). Ohlendorf was pulled after walking Lance Berkman with one out. D.J. Carrasco got a double play grounder from Carlos Lee to end the inning.
The Pirates retook the lead in the bottom of the second on a two run double from Jose Tabata. Carrasco ran into trouble in the fifth and was pulled for Javier Lopez with two out and two on. Chris Johnson doubled in two as Houston went back on top.
But the Pirates battled right back. With two outs in the fifth, the Pirates stacked three straight singles to chase Norris from the game and tie the score. Chris Sampson relieved and gave up a single to Ryan Church that plated the go ahead run.
Pittsburgh piled on the following inning. Tabata doubled and scored when Lee goofed on a single from Neil Walker, with Walker moving to third. Walker scored on a wild pitch from Gustavo Chacin.
The Pirates tacked on three more in the 8th, including RBIs from Walker and catcher Erik Kratz making his ML debut.
Norris gave up four earned runs (seven overall) in 4-2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked two. Ohlendorf gave up four runs and got four guys out. Javier Lopez got the win for the Pirates. Houston got just two hits after the second inning.
Season highs in runs and hits despite hitting no dingers.
Each of the starting eight scored or drove in a run.
Milledge, Tabata and Walker each drove in two runs. Milledge also made a nice catch against the wall against Bourn to end the sixth inning.
30 year old catcher Erik Kratz made his ML debut. He had two singles, an RBI and a run scored.
Ohlendorf was a let down. Over his previous 20 innings covering three starts, he had allowed just two earned runs.
Carrasco got to bat twice and is now hitless in 14 career at bats.
With the Pirates scoring 12 runs, only one NL team has not score a dozen in a game – Houston.
This was the first game that Tabata had more than one double.
This was the first career game for Walker in which he scored three times.
Last time the Pirates had 17 or more hits was 5/25/09 in a 10-8 win against the Cubs.