The Pirates moved back up to .500 with a nail biting, 1-0 victory over Houston. Jeff Karstens played the hero by tossing 6-2/3 innings of shutout baseball, dropping his ERA to less than 3.00. The offense was still problematic, but four relievers combined to keep Houston off the scoreboard.
Bud Norris was also strong for Houston. The lone score came in the second. Neil Walker singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Garrett Jones singled him in. Pittsburgh had a couple of other opportunities bud didn’t cash in. Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker started the sixth with singles. But Norris whiffed Jones and Lyle Overbay. He retired Michael McKenry without allowing any damage. In the eighth, McCutchen walked, stole second and advanced to third on the errant throw all with one out. But reliever Sergio Esalona retired Walker and Jones to end the threat.
Karstens was outstanding, keeping Houston off of third base during his time on the hill. The closest they got came in the fifth when Brett Wallace singled with two outs and moved to second on a balk. But Karstens retired Chris Johnson to end the inning. He was pulled in the sixth after allowing a two out single to Carlos Lee. Jeff Keppinger was caught looking by Chris Resop to end the inning.
The Pirates went through three pitchers in the eighth inning. Tony Watson faced one batter and retired him. Tim Wood came in and allowed a single to Johnson and then walked Matt Downs. Jose Veras was summoned. He retired former Buc Jason Michaels and Michael Bourn on fly ball outs. Joel Hanrahan pitched a perfect ninth for the save.
Karstens allowed just three hits in 6-2/3 innings. He walked none and struck out three. Norris was the hard luck loser. He went seven and gave up just the one run. He gave up six hits and two walks. He struck out nine. Hanrahan has 18 saves in 18 chances.
Karstens was once again effective. Who would’ve thought that the pitching staff would not miss Ross Ohlendorf?
One more win to get above .500.
Walker and Jones each had two hits.
Only one run on six singles.
Pirates whiffed eleven times.
Karstens is now 2-2 against Houston. Norris moves to 2-4 against Pittsburgh.
Hunter Pence’s hitting streak was snapped at 23 games.
Andrew McCutchen extended his hitting streak to 13 games.
This was the first time in June that Pirate hitters whiffed ten or more times.
According to baseball-reference.com, the last time the Pirates were victorious in a 1-0 game was June 20, 2008 against Toronto when they won in 12. Zach Duke and Roy Halladay each pitched scoreless baseball. Pittsburgh had dropped 56 straight games in which they only scored one run.