Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 7/28/12

The Pirates found another way to win (or the Astros found another way to lose, depending on how you want to look at it) as they defeated Houston for the third straight night to improve to sixteen games over .500. SIXTEEN!

Wandy Rodriguez‘s Pirates debut was “meh.” He was uncharacteristically wild (five walks despite averaging just 2.2 per nine innings) but pitched out of trouble, for the most part. One of the walks came around to score in the second inning, and two singles plus a triple (that Alex Presley missed while slamming into the wall) brought home the other two runs. He still was able to post a quality start with five strikeouts, so it wasn’t a bad outing–just not terribly impressive.

The Pirates got off to a good start in the first inning when Presley murdered his second HR in as many days. The Astros got the run back in the second, but Neil Walker put the Bucs back on top in the fourth with an upper-deck bomb–his tenth.

The Astros went ahead in the fifth on the two-run triple by Justin Maxwell, but then relinquished it in true Astro fashion. Andrew McCcutchen led off the sixth with a single. Garrett Jones then bounced one to first, but the throw to second went off Cutch’s helmet for an error. Walker was then hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs for Pedro Alvarez. Pedro hit a tapper that went an inch in front of the plate, so the catcher grabbed it, tapped home, and fired to first for a DP. Horrible luck, and it seemed like the Bucs wouldn’t score….but with a struggling Rod Barajas at the plate, another pitch found its way to the backstop (like last night) allowing McCutchen to score to tie the game.

The Pirates nearly missed another chance in the eighth, but managed to get the run across at the last second. McCutchen walked and Jones singled to put men at the corners with no outs, setting up a prime chance to take the lead. Walker missed the easy RBI chance with a pop up, though, and Alvarez continued his tough night with a strikeout. That brought up Barajas, who had been at the plate during two key runs (wild pitches) but hadn’t actually done anything with the bat at all lately. Well, Rod came up big this time with a single to right, putting the Bucs ahead (although Jones was stupidly thrown out at third to end the inning).

Chris Resop, Brad Lincoln, and Jason Grilli all did great work out of the bullpen (Joel Hanrahan was unavailable tonight since he had pitched three straight days, so Grilli got the save), helping finish the Bucs’ fourth win in a row. The Astros have now dropped a franchise record 12 straight. They’ve been competitive in this series, but just can’t seem to get over the hump. It sure is nice to be on the other end of stretches like that.

Pirates 4, Astros 3 / Box / 2012 Record: 58-42 / Next: Sunday, at Astros, 2:05

MVP: Jones (+.394) / LVP: Alvarez (-.427) / Key play: Maxwell’s triple

©2012 Raise the Jolly Roger. All Rights Reserved.

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