Myers, Astros Beat Pirates At Rainy PNC Park

By Chad Carlson
Photo Credit: AP
The Pirates faced off against the Astros in game two of their series tonight at PNC Park with six new faces in uniform.  Among others, Pedro Alvarez was back in Pittsburgh, and in the starting lineup, as the Bucs looked to take the second game, and clinch the series, against an Astros’ team that swept them at Minute Maid Park a week ago.
Brett Myers has been having a rough year for Houston, with a 3-13 record and a 4.81 ERA coming into tonight’s game.  Of course, as we’ve seen in the past, these types of situations always seem to bite the Pirates, and that’s exactly what happened tonight.  Myers pitched a spectacular game, giving up just one run on four hits through 7.2 innings, as the Astros outlasted the Bucs 4-1 in a frustrating game at PNC Park.
Despite the loss, Pittsburgh starter Brad Lincoln had another solid start, giving up just two runs on five hits through six innings.  The Pirates used a total of six pitchers tonight, all of which threw scoreless baseball with the exception of Jose Veras, who gave up a very costly pair in the ninth.
The Astros took the lead in the second inning with a pair of runs off Lincoln.  Carlos Lee led off with a single, stole second, and scored on a fielder’s choice hit by Jimmy Paredes.  Humberto Quintero’s double in the right center field gap scored Paredes, and the Astros led 2-0.
Pittsburgh cut the lead in half in the bottom half of the second.  Neil Walker smacked a one-out single, and was thrown out while trying to steal second.  On the very next pitch, Ryan Doumit hammered a solo homerun to deep right center field, getting the Bucs on the board at 2-1.
Both teams squandered opportunities to score over the next several innings.  Houston stranded two runners in the top of the fourth, and the Pirates, after getting a leadoff double from Garrett Jones, were unable to score the tying run. 
The seventh inning proved to be the biggest flop for the Astros.  With runners on first and third and one out, Myers laid down a bunt that conveniently bounced back towards Chris Resop, who flipped it to Doumit, making a great tag on Paredes, who was trying to score.  Resop then struck out Jordan Schafer to end the threat.
Pittsburgh blew a huge opportunity of their own in the eighth inning.  With two outs, Josh Harrison hit a pinch-hit ground ball back to Myers, who wildly threw past first baseman Carlos Lee, allowing Harrison to move up to second.  Wesley Wright came in for Myers, who walked Alex Presley on four pitches and, after falling behind 2-0 to Jones, got the Pirates’ first baseman to fly out to shallow right field to end the inning.
The Astros opened things up in the ninth with two runs.  With runners on second and third and just one out, Quintero smashed a single into left centerfield, scoring two runs off Jose Veras and stretching Houston’s lead to 4-1.  Daniel Moskos, who was recalled earlier today, got the final two outs of the inning for Pittsburgh.
Other than a Derrek Lee single, the Pirates went peacefully in the ninth, as the Astros’ Mark Melancon earned his 17th save of the season.
It’s tough to understand how the Astros continue to play well against Pittsburgh, having won four of the last five contests between the two teams.  The Pirates’ offense struggled tonight, accumulating only five hits total as a team, while Alex Presley, Garrett Jones, and Andrew McCutchen, the top three hitters in the lineup, went a combined 1-11, including an 0-4 performance from Cutch, who has seen his batting average drop to a mediocre .267.  Pedro Alvarez went 0-3 in his first game back, while Neil Walker had two hits in the losing effort.
The Pirates still have a chance to win this final series between the two teams tomorrow night at PNC Park.  Ryan Ludwick will be back in uniform, while Brian Burres will make the start on the hill.
Record Vs. Astros: 10-7
Record Vs. N.L. Central: 34-36
Record At Home: 32-39
Overall Record: 65-77
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!

Chad Carlson

Co-Editor of Fans From The Stands, Pirates' Beat Writer For Armchair Report, Sports writer for AMN, SteelTownRock And Music City Encore Editor

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