Houston rookie Dallas Keuchel was trying to be more aggressive Thursday night.
That approach quickly backfired when Pittsburgh's Starling Marte homered on his first major league pitch to give the Pirates an early lead in a 5-3 win over the Astros.
''I figured he'd take a strike to see what I got; I never thought he would hit a homer on the first pitch of the game,'' Keuchel said.
Keuchel's approach played right into Marte's plan.
''I told some players in the dugout before the game that if he threw a fastball down the middle I was going to take a hack at it and that's exactly what I did,'' Marte said in Spanish through a translator.
A.J. Burnett (12-3) shut out the Astros for seven innings before Chris Johnson and Carlos Corporan connected for solo homers in the eighth to cut the lead to 5-2, bringing Brad Lincoln out of the bullpen with one out.
Johnson hit a two-out RBI single off Joel Hanrahan in the ninth, but Hanrahan struck out Brian Bogusevic for his 30th save.