It was a weird game all around. The Pirates were up early despite few hits. Houston rallied against the Pittsburgh bullpen. There were 24 hits in the game, but only one homer. And that bomb was delivered by Andy LaRoche. Add it up and you get the Pirates dropping their 100th game of the year.
Houston jumped on starter James McDonald in the first inning. They used two walks, two singles and a sac fly to plate two runs (RBIs to Hunter Pence and Jeff Keppinger). Pittsburgh got one back in the home half of the frame against Brett Myers. Andrew McCutchen singled and moved to third with the help of an error and a ground ball. He scored on Garrett Jones’ ground ball out.
Houston used small ball to go back up by a pair in the second. Brett Wallace singled and moved to second on a successful sacrifice from Myers. Angel Sanchez singled him in with two outs. Pittsburgh tied it in the third. With two outs Jose Tabata singled and Neil Walker drew a walk. Jones followed with a two run double, knotting it at three each.
After a scoreless fourth, Daniel McCutchen relieved McDonald. He gave up three singles, the last of which was stroked by Chris Johnson and put Houston up 4-3. Pittsburgh began the fifth with consecutive walks to Andrew McCutchen and Delwyn Young, who replaced Tabata who left the game after tweaking his knee. Walker sacrificed them both over. A sac fly from Jones tied the game and Pedro Alvarez doubled in the go ahead run.
The lead wouldn’t last. With one on and one out in the sixth, Chris Leroux replaced McCutchen. He walked Jason Bourgeois. Sanchez singled in the tying run. Hunter Pence delivered a two run double giving Houston a 7-5 cushion. Keppinger singled in Pence making it 8-5.
Pittsburgh got one back from an unlikely source as Andy LaRoche hit a pinch hit homer in the bottom of the sixth. The Pirates drew to within one in the seventh inning against Fernando Abad. He was driven home when Alvarez hit a sac fly. The Pirates would get no more. Houston would add a pair in the ninth against Joel Hanrahan with Humberto Quintero and Geoff Blum supplying RBI knocks.
McDonald went four innings and gave up three runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out four in getting a no decision. Chris Leroux was the loser in relief. Myers scuffled but was around long enough for the win. He gave up six runs (five earned) in six innings. He walked four and gave up six hits. Brandon Lyon pitched a scoreless ninth for the win.
Jones had two hits and drove in four.
McCutchen had two hits and stole a base.
Alvarez drove in two runs.
The Pittsburgh bullpen was charged with seven runs in five innings.
Myers came into the game with a 2.50 career ERA against Pittsburgh in 68-1/3 innings. He is now 6-4 lifetime. This was McDonald’s first career start against Houston. In a previous relief appearance McDonald failed to retire either of the two hitters he faced.
This was the second time in his career that Jones drove in four or more runs.
I’m assuming that this will be the last homer that Andy LaRoche hits for Pittsburgh.
Pence went 3-5 with three RBI and two runs and is hitting nearly .500 against Pittsburgh in 2010.