The good times came to a screeching halt in the sixth inning. Charlie Morton had held Houston at bay through the first five innings. But a fielding miscue kick-started a five run outburst as Houston won a laugher 8-2.
Bud Norris started for Houston and was shaky all game. Norris would manage just one perfect inning out of his seven total. But the Pirates only managed two runs off of him. The first came in opening frame. Alex Presley singled and was bunted to second by Chase D’Arnaud. Andrew McCutchen singled to score Presley. The Pirates scored their other run in the sixth. D’Arnaud led off with a single. He swiped second and moved to third on a fly ball from Garrett Jones. McCutchen’s grounder scored him.
But by that point, the damage had been done. Houston scored five times in the top of the fifth to take a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Michael Bourn reached on an error by D’Arnaud to start the inning. Angel Sanchez doubled him in and moved to third on a miscue from McCutchen. Hunter Pence singled in Sanchez to break the tie. Carlos Lee tripled in Pence to make it 3-1. Jeff Keppinger doubled, knocking in Lee. After Clint Barmes singled, Morton was pulled for Chris Leroux who succeeded in getting the final two outs of the sixth and also pitched a scoreless seventh.
Houston tacked on three more runs in the ninth. Daniel McCutchen gave up consecutive doubles to Jason Michaels and Michael Bourn to score one run. With one out, Daniel Moskos was brought in. He gave up back-to-back singles to Pence and Lee and then a sac fly to Keppinger.
David Carpenter tossed a perfect ninth to close out the game.
Morton gave up five runs (four earned) in 5-1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked one. He gave up eight hits. Norris was the winner. He yielded two runs in seven innings on seven hits and two walks. He struck out three.
Michael McKenry had two hits.
The offense managed only seven singles.
Unearned run. Ugh.
Brandon Wood was 0-4 with three whiffs.
Norris came into the game 2-4 in his career against the Pirates. Morton was 2-3 against Houston. Garrett Jones was 6-17 with a dinger against Norris prior to this contest. Michael Bourn was 7-17 against Morton.
Pence had three hits on the night. He came into the game hitting .394 against Pittsburgh in 2011 and