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by Zane Heiple

Photo by Getty Images

After four days of rest and relaxation, the Pittsburgh Pirates were back in action tonight to start a three game set against the Houston Astros.  Jeff Karstens had a very good first half of the season and looked to continue that with his start tonight.  The Astros would counter with Jeff Myers.

It did not take long for the Buccos to get on the board.  After a leadoff single by Alex Presley, he would steal second, and then advance to third on a sacrifice fly by Chase d’Arnaud.  Neil Walker would bring him home for his 60th RBI of the season.  Two innings later, with Presley and d’Arnaud on base, Andrew McCutchen would hit a bases clearing triple to put Pittsburgh up 3-0.

Astros starter Myers would exit the game after six innings of work and was replaced by Fernando Rodriguez.  Even though he gave up three runs, Myers pitched well as he struck out eleven and only walked three batters.  Rodriguez would leave the game after one inning. 

Garrett Jones would lead the eighth inning off with a walk.  He was then replaced by Xavier Paul to give the team more speed.  This move paid off quickly.  After a wild pitch by Houston reliever Sergio Escalona allowed Paul to move up to second base, Lyle Overbay would bring him home on an error by Astros second baseman Jeff Keppinger.

The story of the night however was Mr. Jeff Karstens.  He would pitch a complete game shutout allowing five hits, zero walks and striking out two.  His story so far this year is unreal.  After coming into the season scheduled to be the long relief option out of the bullpen, he has become one of the most consistent pitchers in the Majors since becoming a starter when Ross Ohlendorf went on the DL back in April.  Jeff did have help from his defense, as any pitcher does when he goes the distance.

A few side notes on the day for the Pirates.  After Daniel Moskos was sent back to AAA Indianapolis on Thursday, Joe Beimel was activated to the roster on Friday.  Jose Tabata had a set back while rehabbing in Bradenton.  Steve Pearce is on a rehab assignment in Indianapolis and Ronny Cedeno will begin his assignment in the next few days. 

The Buccos and Stros will battle in game two of this three game series tomorrow night.  Paul Maholm will get the nod for Pittsburgh, while Houston will send Bud Norris to the bump.

Record vs. Astros:  8-2
Record vs. N.L. Central:  21-12
Road Record:  25-21
Overall Record:  48-43

And…

As Always…

Let’s Go Bucs!!!