Maholm, Astros Defense Help Bucs Past Houston

Paul Maholm was effective in winning for just the third time in his last 13 starts. He went six innings and gave up two runs on five singles, a double and a pair of walks.

The Pirates offense was kick started by Jack Wilson who blasted a two out homer in the third. Houston edge back into it against Maholm with single runs in the third and the sixth. But things went the Buccos way in the 7th. Brian Moehler who had retired the side in order in the fourth, fifth and sixth, allowed consecutive walks with one out in the 7th. He was pulled for Tim Byrdak who also gave up a BB to load ‘em. Byrdak gave way to Chris Sampson. Jason Jaramillo’s grounder to first baseman Lance Berkman was fielded cleanly. Berkman’s throw home was a bad one, allowing a run to score and all to be safe. Delwyn Young (pinch hitting for Maholm), Andrew McCutchen and Wilson all followed with RBI hits to blow it open.

But it wasn’t over yet. Joel Hanrahan was allowed to pitch in a game that was far from over and was charged with a run in the 7th after giving way to John Grabow. Houston loaded the bases with one out in the 8th before Grabow got Jeff Keppinger to hit into an inning ending DP. Matt Capps got three ground ball outs in the 9th to seal it.

Moehler went 6-1/3 and gave up three earned runs on three hits and two walks.

The Good

Bucs made the most of a few opportunities. Seven hits and six runs.

McCutchen, Wilson and Jones each had two hits.

Maholm was good.

Bucs turned three double plays.

The Bad

Why is Joel Hanrahan in a game in the 7th?

Freddy Sanchez was out again.

The Rest

Jones stole two bases. He had one swipe in the Show coming into the game (in 37 career ML games) and 54 career steals in 1,038 career minor league games.

Wilson’s homer was his 10th in Houston, making it easily his favorite road homer park. Next closest is Great American in Cincy with 4. He also hit two in Cinergy/Riverfront.

This was the second time in July the Pirates scored six or more runs on fewer than 10 hits. Other time was July 3rd against Florida.

Barring an injury, McCutchen is set up to have the best debut season by a Pirate since Warren Morris (not rookie season as that would be Jason Bay, but debut season). No Pirate since Morris has had 50 runs and 50 RBIs in their debut season.

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Randy Linville

Randy is currently living and thriving in suburban Dayton, OH with his wife and two kids. He was raised in Cincinnati, OH and attended Anderson High School. He went to Miami University (Ohio) and received a degree in Paper Science Engineering from MU. He is a devout Christian and a pop culture buff. He coaches his son’s baseball and basketball teams and his daughters softball and basketball teams. Randy has been a Pirates fan since the late 1970s and has fond memories of the 1979 World Series team. He began blogging for Most Valuable Network in 5/2004 after stumbling across a help-wanted sign for a Pirates blogger. He wrote for Pittsburgh Lumber Co. until the site merged with Pirates Prospects in 2/2011.

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