Rookie Henry Sosa allowed just one run and two hits in six solid innings. The Astros put up six runs and sent ten men to the plate in a disastrous sixth inning against Charlie Mortona and Chris Leroux. It added up to another loss in Houston for the Pirates.
Morton scuffled through the first three innings, allowing a run on base in each frame and allowing a runner to second with one out two times. But it was the Pirates who broke through first against Sosa. Ronny Cedeno drew a lead off walk in the third. He moved up on a sac bunt from Morton. Alex Presley poked a two out single that scored Cedeno and put Pittsburgh up 1-0. That would be the only hit Sosa would allow through four innings.
After Pittsburgh wasted a one out double from Cedeño in the top of the fifth, Houston tied it in the bottom of the fifth when José Altuve hit a solo homer.
Houston forged ahead in a big way in the next frame. Jimmy Paredes singled leading off. He moved to second when Morton balked and then swiped third. Carlos Corporan was given a free pazs to bring up Matt Downs, who pinch hit for Sosa. He singled home a run and ended Morton’s night. Chris Leroux relieved and tossed kerosene on the blaze. Jordan Schafer singled to load the bases. Altuve singled for his second RBI of the night. J.D. Martinez singled home two runs. Carlos Lee singled in another. Suddenly it was 6-1 in favor of the Astros. Daniel McCutchen was called on to relieve Leroux. He got Brian Bogusevic to line out but Paredes – who started the inning – doubled in another run. Mercifully Clint Barmes flied out to end the inning.
Martinez hit an RBI single off of McCutchen in the seventh to extend the lead to seven runs. Andrew McCutchen’s homer off of Brett Myers in the ninth was too little, too late.
Morton was the loser. He went 5-1/3 and gave up four runs. He allowed six hits and four walks. He struck out eight. Sosa gave up the first Pirate run in six innings. He surrendered only two hits and one walk. He whiffed seven.
Cedeno had two hits and scored once.
Buc pitchers hit double digits in whiffs.
Buc batters also hit double digits in whiffs.
Leroux didn’t retire any of the four hitters he faced.
Morton was uneven this outing.
This was Sosa’s fifth career start and first career appearance against Pittsburgh. He was acquired by Houston from the Giants for former Pirate farmhand Jeff Keppinger. Morton to a 2-5 lifetime mark against Houston.
Morton’s eight whiffs were a season high and the second most in his career.
Bucs are a season low eleven games under .500. They need to go 20-7 to finish over .500.
This was McCutchen’s fifth homer of the month and the second time in 2011 that he homered in consecutive games.
This was the fourth time in August that Martinez drove in three or more runs. He is tied for third in the Majors for RBI in August.