Originally written on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 11/18/14

Even though the Pirates won the first three games against the Astros this week, they had to come back to win each time. Jeff Karstens made sure that wasn’t an issue on Thursday night as the Bucs earned the sweep.

Karstens was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. He dominated the Astros in three starts against them last season and picked up right where he left off tonight, tossing eight scoreless innings on a mere 89 pitches. Vintage Karstens, cruising through inning after inning with remarkable efficiency. Jeff allowed just four hits and had his super slow curve working to perfection, allowing him to strike out eight (a pretty high number for him). Awesome.

The offense had a bit of an off night, but chose a good time for that to happen. The Bucs’ lowest run output since the Sunday loss to Justin Verlander 12 games ago still resulted in a win, as Casey McGehee‘s RBI double and Garrett Jones‘ sac-fly provided more than enough for Karstens. The Bucs had just five hits, but four went for doubles and for the first time in a while they were able to get out to an early lead.

Clint Hurdle made a curious (and unpopular move) by pulling Karstens after eight innings, despite the dominant eight innings with a low pitch count. His reasoning was that it was only Jeff’s third start after an injury–I don’t really buy it, but I wasn’t in the dugout talking to Karstens about it.

Joel Hanrahan got the call for the save, and for the third day in a row he was shaky. He walked the leadoff man and fell behind the next hitter, but after a great boost from the crowd he induced a big double play. Then he walked another before getting the final out.  Hanrahan won’t be available for tomorrow now that he’s pitched three days in a row–another reason bringing him in seemed questionable–but maybe that’s a good thing after these last few days? I’m confident he’ll get things back together, but this hasn’t been a good stretch for him.

That’s nitpicking though. The Pirates completed their first four game sweep SINCE 2006 and continue to lead the division. It should be a rockin’ weekend at PNC.

Pirates 2, Astros 0 / Box / 2012 Record: 46-36 / Next: Friday, vs. Giants, 7:05

MVP: Karstens (+.557) / LVP: McKenry (-.074) / Key play: McGehee’s double

©2012 Raise the Jolly Roger. All Rights Reserved.

.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Discussions to bring NFL team to L.A. are progressing

Report: Chris Mullin expected to take St. John's job

Michigan State beats Louisville, punches Final Four ticket

Ex-NHL player viciously attacks opponent before game

Rick Barnes a possibility for Tennessee coaching job?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: NFL looking into Bill Belichick's camera ideas

Saints CB Brian Dixon arrested in Miami

CC Sabathia goes off about spring training stats

Kentucky remains unbeaten after thrilling win over ND

Alabama DT arrested on domestic violence charges again

John Calipari blasted for postgame interview

Adam Morrison trolled fan who made JJ Redick comment

Jim Harbaugh finished fourth in student government election

WATCH: Notre Dame gets warm reception upon return home

WATCH: Kris Letang hospitalized after hit

Aaron Rodgers, sports writer get into it over on-court access

Sam Dekker's hot shooting sends Wisconsin to Final Four

Jim McElwain complains about Florida roster

Mark Few: I put Coach K up there with John Wooden

WATCH: Enes Kanter embraces boos in return to Utah

Mariners prospect dies from boat accident injuries

T.J. Ford sends heartfelt tweet about Rick Barnes

Bruins coach suits up as backup goalie

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Chris Mullin to take St. John's job

Report: NFL looking into more cameras

CC Sabathia goes off about spring stats

John Fox: Cutler will have to earn job

Texas eyeing Shaka Smart, Gregg Marshall?

WATCH: Brady jumps off cliff in Costa Rica

WATCH: 2 Chainz beats Nique in HORSE

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Notre Dame vs. Kentucky

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Arizona vs. Wisconsin

NFL owners chose cost over game integrity

Be careful how loudly you cheer on Mo'ne Davis' olive branch

James Harden and the collective consciousness

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.