Ross Ohlendorf certainly wasn’t bad. But Wandy Rodriguez was lights out. He yielded an early lead to the Pirates but Houston chipped away and took the lead. Rodriguez whiffed a career best as Houston took the first game of the series.
The Pirate bats were silent all game except for the fourth inning. And in that inning they went ‘boom’. Josh Harrison doubled to lead off the inning. Andrew McCutchen hit a two run homer. Neil Walker and Ryan Doumit hit consecutive doubles to give the Pirates a 3-0 lead.
Ohlendorf retired the first eleven hitteres he faced before hitting a snag with two gone in the fourth. J.D. Martinez singled. Carlos Lee walked. Brian Boguseveic singled home Martinez to make it 3-1.
Houston got another key two out hit in the fifth. Clint Barmes doubled leading off and was standing at third with two outs when Jordan Schafer drove him in with a single.
The bullpen was unable to hold the lead. After an eventful sixth in which three Astros reached base and none scored, Jason Grilli took the mound for the seventh inning. With one out, he hit Schafer. Jose Altuve doubled him to third. Jose Veras was called in from the bullpen. Martinez reached on a fielder’s choice that saw Schafer score the tying run. Lee followed with a three run bomb to put Houston up 6-3.
Houston added another in the eighth against Tony Watson. Altuve’s bunt went for a hit and scored Jason Bourgeois to make it 7-3.
Rookie Juan Abreu made his Major League debut in the ninth. He gave up a two out walk to Garrett Jones and an RBI triple to Ronny Cedeno. Abreu gave way to Mark Melancon who whiffed Jose Tabata to end the game.
Ohlendorf gave up three singles, two doubles and a walk in five innings. He was charged with two runs. He struck out six. Rodriguez allowed just four hits – all of which came in the third innings – in seven innings. He was charged with all three Pirate runs. He struck out a career best 13 and walked four. Rookie David Carpenter pitched a scoreless, hitless eighth before handing off to Abreu.
I’ll take that from Ohlendorf 32 times a year. Maybe an inning or two longer mixed into those 32 starts.
Bucs collected five extra base hits. But that was all the hits they got.
Bucs whiffed in double digits.
Golden Sombrero to Brandon Wood.
Ohlendorf came into the game with a career mark of 0-6 against Houston. He remains winless against them in spite of a good outing. Wandy is 8-5 against the Buccos.
This was the tenth time in his career Rodriguez hit double digits in strike outs. His previous career best was eleven, which he tied on 7/17/11 in 5-2/3 against the Pirates. Out of those ten double digit strike out games, four have come against Pittsburgh.
Both Brandon Wood and Chase d’Arnaud were 0-3 with three whiffs against Rodriguez.
The last time all five or more of the Pirates hits were for extra bases was 7/1/00.
The sixteen strike outs the Pirates suffered were their most in 2011. Last time they struck out more than 16 times was a 17 strike out affair 8/14/10 against Houston and Bud Norris.