McDonald’s Strong Start Lifts Pirates Past Astros

by Zane Heiple

Photo By AP

While the rest of us were enjoying a day off from work, Mother Nature was working as she delayed the start to today’s game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Astros.  Even when the game did start rain was present throughout the contest.  James McDonald handled the weather and Astros fairly well this afternoon as he would go 7.1 innings allowing one run on three hits, with three walks and six strikeouts as he picked his ninth win on the season today.  The seven plus inning of work was the longest of the year for McDonald.

Houston was able to strike first today.  In the third inning Astros pitcher Henry Sosa was able to draw a four pitch walk.  Then with two outs Jose Altuve hit a fly ball to right field that Jose Tabata misread, which allowed Sosa to score and Altuve to end up with a triple.

Pittsburgh would rally in the fourth inning.  With one out and runners on first and second, Ryan Doumit would double to centerfield, scoring Andrew McCutchen from second base.  Josh Harrison would continue swinging a hot bat with a single to center, which brought home Derrek Lee.  The Pirates would add an insurance run in the eighth inning off the bat of Lee, who when healthy and in a Buccos uniform seems to be a source of power that this lineup desperately needs.  It will be interesting to see if Pittsburgh management will make Lee an offer to remain with the Pirates in 2012.

With a two run lead Joel Hanrahan would come out of the bullpen to earn his 35th save of the year, which game the Buccos a 3-1 win.  Even though both of these teams are out of contention, Pittsburgh is looking to play for pride as they were swept by Houston a week ago.  With every win, the Pirates increase their win total from last year as they currently have eight more than they did at the end of 2010. 
A few side notes, Chris Snyder announced today that he will not be back this season, which should not be a surprise to fans, since there is less than a month less in the season.  Tabata left the game today with discomfort in his left wrist which has been bothering him since last week.  Jeff Karstens will miss another start on Wednesday to rest his arm, Brian Burres will start in his place.  Game two of this series will be tomorrow night at 7:05pm Brett Myers will take on Brad Lincoln.

Record vs. Astros:  10-6
Record vs. N.L. Central:  34-35
Record at PNC Park:  32-38
Overall Record:  65-76


As Always…

Let’s Go Bucs!!!

Zane Heiple

Zane is Co-Editor of Fans From The Stands and a weekly contributor for Armchair Report on NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, and NCAA related topics. He's also the smartest man in the world. Just ask him.

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