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by Zane Heiple

Photo by Getty Images

Sloppy Joes may be on some of your 4th of July cookout menus, and early on it looked like sloppy defense was on the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Today’s game against the Houston Astros didn’t start off great, but great pitching and timely hits allowed the Buccos to go three games over .500 for the first time since 1999 with the 5-3 win.

Paul Maholm once again pitched very well and gave his team the chance to win.  He would go six innings allowing only one earned run on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts.  His counterpart, Brett Myers, gave up fourteen hits, four earned runs, and one strikeout in six innings of work.  For the 25th time this season, Joel Hanrahan closed out the game and sent Pirates fans home happy.

The errors that occurred today for Pittsburgh all came in the third inning.  One was by Lyle Overbay on a throw to third base.  The other two came from Josh Harrison who had trouble fielding a groundball by Hunter Pence and then three batters later made a throwing error to first.  Harrison would be taken out of the game in the fourth inning because he was complaining of dizziness that occurred after he collided with the catcher in the second inning. 

Pittsburgh tied the game in the second inning when Michael McKenry singled to left field bringing Overbay home.  After Houston went up 3-1 in the third, the Buccos answered in the bottom part of the inning.  It started when Andrew McCutchen doubled home Chase d’Arnaud.  The tying run came around two batters later when Overbay singled home Cutch.

The Pirates took the lead for good in the fifth on a Neil Walker single to right field that brought d’Arnaud home.  Insurance was added in the sixth by the Buccos when Alex Presley tripled home Brandon Wood from second.

The bullpen bridge from Maholm to Hanrahan included scoreless innings of work from Daniel McCutchen and Jose Veras.  D-Cutch picked up his fifth hold of the year, while Veras picked up hold number 17 on the season.  Hanrahan also set a team record for most saves to start a year without blowing one, with 25.  Game two of this series will be tomorrow night at 7:05.

Happy Independence Day to all of our readers, from Fans From The Stands.

Record vs. Astros:  6-1
Record vs. N.L. Central:  17-10
Record at PNC Park:  20-20
Overall Record:  44-41

And…

As Always…

Let’s Go Bucs!!!