Brian Burres wasn’t all that sharp. J.A. Happ gave up two homers to Andrew McCutchen. It all came down to a wild play in the eighth in which Jason Jaramillo singled in the game winning run and started a double play.
Burres gave up two dingers in the first. Carlos Lee homered with J.D. Martinez on board. Matt Downs followed Lee with a blast off the foul poul in left and Houston led 3-0. Pittsburgh got one run back immediately in the bottom of the first as McCutchen hit a solo blast deep to right center.
Houston had opportunities to blow the game open, but failed. They failed to score in the second in spite of consecutive singles to start the inning. Clint Barmes hit a solo homer in the fourth and Houston again stranded a pair of runners, failing to add to their 4-1 lead.
McCutchen’s second blast tied it up at four in the fifth. The homer scored Brandon Wood, who had walked, and Alex Presley, who reached on a single.
No one advanced a runner past second base until the eighth inning. Garrett Jones singled and was replaced by a pinch runner (Chase d’Arnaud). Ryan Doumit also singled. Jason Jaramillo singled to score d’Arnaud. Jaramillo was caught up between first and second after the throw home was to late to get d’Arnaud. Doumit attempted to score as Jaramillo was being tagged out and Doumit was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
Joel Hanrahan tossed a 1-2-3 ninth for the save.
Happ went five innings. He gave up four runs on five hits and four walks along with eight strikeouts. Burres gave up seven hits and retired eleven hitters. He was charged with four runs. He walked none and struck out two. Tony Watson got the final out in the top of the eighth for the win. Wilton Lopez was the loser for Houston.
Cutch, of course.
Jared Hughes made his Major League debut and got out of a two on, two out jam in the fourth and then pitched a scoreless fifth.
The bullpen went 5-2/3 and allowed no runs and just one hit.
Presley and Derrek Lee each had two safeties.
Pirate pitchers walked only one Astro.
Bucs whiffed eleven times.
Burres beat Houston way back in 2008. He made one relief appearance against them last year. Coming into this game, Happ had made seven starts against Pittsburgh and run up a fine 2.00 ERA and a 3-2 record.
Happ’s eight whiffs tied a season high.
This is the second time in 2011 that McCutchen hit more than one homer in a game.
Pirates need to go 16-3 the rest of the way to finish over .500.
Bucs need one more win to clinch finishing out of the cellar.