Zach Duke was effective in six plus innings and Pedro Alvarez connected on a two run homer as the Pirates try to avoid losing more than 100 games for the first time since 1985.
Former Bucco Jason Michaels helped Houston get started. He led off the second against Duke with a double and scored on a single from Chris Johnson.
Pittsburgh took the lead in the third inning. Andrew McCutchen singled and Neil Walker drew a walk in front of a three run homer from Alvarez. The lead was short lived as Humberto Quintero hit a two run double in the top of the fourth to knot it at three.
Pittsburgh took the lead for good off Houston starter Bud Norris in the fifth inning. Cutch led off with a double. Jose Tabata singled him home. Walker singled and two outs later, Doumit drove home Tabata with a single, making it 5-3.
Duke was lifted after he gave up a lead off single to Quintero in the seventh inning. Sean Gallagher got out of the jam with a double play grounder from Jason Bourgeois. Evan Meek tossed a scoreless eighth. Pittsburgh got an insurance run in the eighth. Alvarez sinlgled and Alex Presley doubled him to third. Alvarez would score on a wild pitch.
Joel Hanrahan gave up an RBI double to rookie Brian Bogusevic with two outs in the ninth.
Duke allowed three runs on seven hits in six plus innings. He walked one and struck out three. Norris went 4-2/3 and gave up five runs on seven hits. Hanrahan got the save.
Tabata returned after leaving the previous game with a leg issue.
Alvarez had two hits, scored twice and drove in three runs.
John Bowker left the game after four innings with soreness in his left knee.
Ronny Cedeno committed an error.
Duke came into the game with a 3.27 career ERA against Houston, but was only 2-5. Norris falls to 2-2 against Pittsburgh.
Alvarez has eleven RBI in his last five games.
McCutchen needs to score twelve times in the last nine games to reach 100 for the season.