Friday, August 13: The Pirates played a phenomenal baseball game defensively on Friday night…that is…until the 8th inning. A huge 4-run outburst by the Astros in the next to the last frame gave Houston a 4-1 win in the first game of the series at Minute Maid Park.
Ross Ohlendorf pitched arguably his best game of the season, going 6.2 innings and only giving up 4 hits and striking out 7, setting his team up for the victory. Unfortunately, the big 7th inning for Houston came at the expense of the usually reliable Evan Meek, who gave up 4 runs on 5 hits through just 1/3 of an inning.
Neil Walker tallied the only RBI for Pittsburgh in the 3rd inning. Carlos Lee was the game breaker for the Astros, smashing a 3-run homer in the 8th inning, giving them the lead.
Saturday, August 14: For the second consecutive night, the Pirates led for the majority of the game, only to squander opportunities to add to the lead, and eventually losing the lead, and the game, to the Astros.
The Pirates led off the game with a triple by Andrew McCutchen and a 2-run homer by Garrett Jones off of Astros starter Bud Norris. But from there, Norris struck out an unprecedented 14 batters throughout his 7 innings of work. Buccos’ starter Paul Maholm pitched a solid outing as well, only giving up 3 runs on 9 hits. Unfortunately, those 3 runs were enough to beat the Pirates.
Hunter Pence was the star of the day for the Astros, going 3-4 with a solo homerun in the 4th and an RBI-double in the 7th. The Pirates managed 6 hits, but were only able to notch one run in the game…and for the second straight night, lost a close game to Houston.
Sunday, August 15: After two close losses to the Astros, the Pirates were due to get blown out….and that’s exactly what happened on Sunday. The Astros trailed the Pirates heading into the bottom of the 6th inning, and that’s when they tallied 7 runs over the next 3 innings, resulting in a punishing 8-2 win over Pittsburgh at Minute Maid Park.
Jeff Karstens pitched a fantastic game until the 6th inning, when he was lit up for 4 runs, knocking him out of the contest. Lastings Milledge and Chris Snyder contributed an RBI a piece, which unfortunately, were the only runs the team could muster for the duration of the game. The Astros, on the other hand, got contributions from the entire team. Chris Johnson, going 3-4 with a HR in the 8th inning, was the start of the day.
So the Pirates end the road trip without a victory, going 0-6 against the Padres and the Astros. The Buccos scored only 5 runs in the 3 games, and in two of the games, the Pirates’ pitching was solid. On a bright side, Garrett Jones and Pedro Alvarez both had solid series at Houston. Alvarez, in particular, has raised his average to .245 for the season. Unfortunately, though, it seems as though the Pirates find news ways, day after day, to lose baseball games.
The Pirates now return to PNC Park for a series against the Florida Marlins. Hopefully they can turn something around, put a few decent offensive outings and pitching performances together to accumulate a win.
Current Record: 39-78
And…As Always…Let’s Go Bucs!