Pittsburgh collected only four hits all game. Houston didn’t do much against James McDonald. But they got enough to make a winner of J.A. Happ.
McDonald pitched out of a bases loaded no out jam in the second inning. Brian Boguseveic, Jimmy Paredes and Angel Sanchez each singled to fill ’em up. But McDonald go Humberto Quintero to pop out. He whiffed Happ and Jordan Schafer grounded out to end the inning.
No such good fortune in the fourth. Paredes led off with a walk. Sanchez singled him to third. Quintero was retired catcher to first after a check swing/excuse me tapper. But Garrett Jones’ errant throw home allowed Paredes to score easily (he was scoring easily anyway) and moved Sanchez to third. After Happ walked, Schafer singled in Sanchez to make it 2-0. Jose Altuve hit into a double play to end the inning.
The Pirates failed to advance a runner past first base all game. Happ went seven and was relieved by Fernando Rodriguez in the eighth and Mark Melancon for the ninth.
McDonald went six. He allowed seven hits and both runs, though only one was earned. He struck out six and walked two. Happ’s seven strong innings included just three hits and one walk. He struck out six.
No sweat with McDonald’s outing.
No one got hurt.
Getting shutout for seven innings by the pitcher that leads the NL in losses.
In six previous career starts against the Pirates, Happ was 2-2 with a 2.37 ERA. McDonald was 1-0 against Houston coming into the game.
Bucs had been 9-3 versus Houston in 2011 until this series.
Alex Presley is in a 2-17 mini-swoon.