Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 7/29/12

The Pirates played another sloppy game against the Astros and finally paid for it with a loss, as the Bucs missed a chance to sweep and allowed Houston snap a 12-game losing streak.

I can’t get too worked up about losing a game to the awful Astros, since the Bucs took 3 of 4 on the road and are 9-2 against Houston this year. I understand that they didn’t play terribly well for most of the week, but remember that the unstoppable Reds needed two ninth inning comebacks to win at Minute Maid (where the Astros are nearly .500) earlier in the week. The Astros are really bad, but they’re still going to win every now and then.

What I can get worked up about is James McDonald, who had yet another horrific outing today. I didn’t see nearly as many positive signs as I saw in his Tuesday loss to the Cubs, but there were certainly plenty of negatives. James just wasn’t locating…he walked SEVEN and seemed to be falling behind every hitter, which led to six hits and five runs.  That’s four poor starts in a row for the Pirates’ ace of the first half…and his next start is scheduled to be on the road in a pivotal series against the Reds. Clint Hurdle says he will not be skipping it. Gulp.

Garrett Jones got the Bucs back in the game briefly with a towering two run blast in the fourth inning. Jones killed it–I’m guessing the ball would’ve reached the Allegheny on the fly if it had happened at PNC Park. Unfortunately, the offense didn’t do much else against Lucas Harrell and McDonald’s struggles got the Pirates back in a hole pretty quickly. Andrew McCutchen had the day off, but came up to pinch hit in a big spot with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth…but he popped out.

Kevin Correia made his first relief appearance in the sixth, and the disgruntled righty did not do much to help his case. He allowed five hits and four runs in two innings, essentially allowing Houston to put the game away. The Bucs got three runs back late, but they wouldn’t be nearly enough. Starling Marte, Pedro Alvarez, and Josh Harrison each notched two hits.

Ugly loss for the Bucs, who fell to three games behind the Reds (winners of ten straight) in the Central.

Astros 9, Pirates 5 / Box / 2012 Record: 58-43 / Next: Monday, at Cubs, 8:05

MVP: Jones (+.127) / LVP: McDonald (-.382) / Key play: Schaefer’s HR

©2012 Raise the Jolly Roger. All Rights Reserved.

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