The Pirates blew another late lead, but a three run homer from Ryan Doumit in the bottom of the eighth brought the Pirates back from the brink. James McDonald pitched very well. Instead of a win, he gets a no decision.
The Pirates had a couple of chances to break the game open off J.A. Happ early on but failed to do much damage. Pittsburgh loaded the bases with one out in the first. Steve Pearce lofted a sac fly for one run but Doumit flied out to end the inning. In the fourth the Pirates loaded the bases with no one out. Brandon Wood struck out. Ronny Cedeno’s single scored one run. But McDonald hit into an inning ending double play.
McDonald was in control on the hill. He retired 14 of the first 15 batters he faced before pitching out of a bases loaded jam of his own in the sixth inning. Chris Resop relieved him and suffered his second straight rough outing. Chris Johnson hit a lead off homer. Bill Hall singled and Humberto Quintero doubled him home. Somehow Quintero managed to score on a bunt single from Angel Sanchez to put Houston ahead 3-2. Houston added another in the eighth off of Daniel McCutchen. Carlos Lee doubled and moved up on a grounder. He scored on a sac fly from Brett Wallace. That marked the first time all year that McCutchen had been scored on.
The Pirates were retired in order in the sixth and seventh but came back in the eighth. Neil Walker singled with one out. Steve Pearce walked and then Doumit struck the big blow of the game. His three run homer to left gave the Pirates a 5-4 lead. Joel Hanrahan pitched a perfect ninth to get the save.
McDonald went six and allowed no runs on three hits and two walks. He struck out eight. McCutchen was the winner in relief despite giving up a run. Happ was charged with two runs in six innings. He walked four and struck out three. He yielded six hits. Fernando Abad was the loser in relief. Hanrahan’s save was his tenth on the year.
Walker and Matt Diaz both had two hits.
McDonald – more please.
I visit Pittsburgh once a year with my brother to take in a couple of games. We are headed there in a couple of weeks. As much as I hate to admit it, the Pirates have a tendency to play horribly as soon as I leave town. So, yes I’m frightened that I’ll be writing this time next month about a 3-17 slide.
This should’ve been three straight wins over Houston if not for Friday’s late inning debacle.
Bucs record through 34 games in this century
2010 – 14-20
2009 – 14-20
2008 – 15-19
2007 – 15-19
2006 – 10-24
2005 – 15-19
2004 – 16-18
2003 – 14-20
2002 – 18-16
2001 – 13-21
2000 – 15-19
McDonald has dropped his ERA nearly five full runs in his last three starts. His eight whiffs match a career high establilshed 8/5/10 against Colorado.
Happ remains 2-2 against the Pirates. He came into the game with a 2.00 ERA in four starts against the Buccos.
Fernando Abad isn’t related to former Pirates minor leaguer Andy Abad.