Paul Maholm was solid over seven innings and the Pirates offense woke up late to conclude the 2010 home schedule with a win. Pedro Alvarez continued his hot hitting with three safeties and two RBI.
Through the first part of the game, it didnt’ look promising. Maholm gave up a two out run scoring double to Carlos Lee in the first inning. Houston starter J.A. Happ made it stand up through five innings of three hit (all singles) pitching.
But in the sixth, Houston helped the Pirates take the lead. With one out Garrett Jones walked and Alvarez singled, moving Jones to third. Ronny Cedeno grounded to Lee at first base. Jones broke for home and Lee through to catcher Jason Castro. Jones was safe as Castro was unable to handle the throw for an error on the catcher. Alvarez moved to third on the play and scored on a sac fly from Andy LaRoche.
Pittsburgh got to the Houston bullpen in the next inning. Mark Melancon relieved Happ. Melancon retired one hitter but put two men on before being pulled for Fernando Abad. He was greeted by an RBI single from Neil Walker. With two gone, Alvarez came through with a double that scored both Pirate runners.
With a 5-1 cushion, Maholm gave way to Evan Meek to start the eighth. He was victimized by Hunter Pence who hit a two run homer. But the Pirates offense scored four time in the bottom of the inning to put the game on ice. Ryan Doumit singled, Walker had a two run double and Jones drove home the final run with a sac fly. Chan Ho Park pitched the ninth in a non-save situation.
Maholm was the winner. He allowed just that first inning run over seven innings. He struck out seven while giving up six hits and a walk. Happ was the tough luck loser. Both runs he gave up were unearned. He allowed just four singles and two walks in six innings.
No complaints about Maholm’s effort.
Alvarez has been hotter than hot. Three hits and two more RBIs.
Walker had two hits and drove in three.
The Pittsburgh pitching staff combined to strike out ten Houston batters.
Ronny Cedeno made an error. Other than that, not much.
Maholm moves to 10-6 against Houston. Happ is 2-2 against the Bucs.
McCutchen scored twice and has seven games to score ten times in order to reach triple digits on the year.
This was the 14th time in 2010 that Pittsburgh struck out ten or more opponents.
The last Pirate to score 100 runs in a season was Nate McLouth with 113 runs scored in 2008.