National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, July 28th
(All times eastern)
Pittsburgh Pirates (57-42) at Houston Astros (34-67), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Pittsburgh - Wandy Rodriguez (7-9, 3.79)
Houston - Armando Galarraga (0-0, 0.00)
(Sports Network) - Wandy Rodriguez makes his debut for the Pirates against his
former team tonight when Pittsburgh resumes a four-game series at Minute Maid
Rodriguez was traded from the Astros on Tuesday in exchange for three players.
Tonight he'll try to send Houston to its 12th straight loss, which would set a
"Wandy Rodriguez is a quality starting pitcher and we are pleased to add him
to our club," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said at the time of the
trade. "Wandy has quietly ranked among the upper echelon of Major League
starting pitchers the last three seasons in ERA, innings pitched and
strikeouts among other categories. We believe he will be a solid addition to
our rotation for the remainder of this season and beyond."
The 33-year-old left-hander, who has pitched all eight seasons of his career
for the Astros, had gone 7-9 with a 3.79 earned run average in 21 starts for
Houston this season. Rodriguez dropped his final three starts in a Houston
uniform, including Monday's defeat to the Reds.
Armando Galarraga makes his return to the majors tonight for the Astros. The
righty hasn't started a big league game since May 16, 2011 against San Diego.
Galarraga was pitching for Arizona at the time, but he was released after the
season. He signed as a free agent with Baltimore in January, but was released
by the Orioles on April 6 before signing with Houston on May 21.
In nine stats with Triple-A Oklahoma City this year, Galarraga is 3-2 with a
4.12 ERA. This will be his third career appearance against the Pirates.
Last night, Drew Sutton hustled home from third with the go-ahead run in the
top of the ninth inning thanks to a Xavier Cedeno wild pitch and the Pirates
Trailing, 5-4, entering the ninth inning, Michael McKenry smoked a single to
left off Rhiner Cruz (1-1), and pinch-hitters Sutton and Casey McGehee drew
walks to load the bases with one out.
Starling Marte, one night after crushing his first major league home run on
the first pitch he saw, knocked home the tying run with a sacrifice fly. Rod
Barajas then came up to face Cedeno, who fired one that skipped all the way to
the backstop and allowed Sutton to score.
Tony Watson (5-1) earned the win with a perfect inning of relief work, and
Joel Hanrahan came on in the ninth and turned away the Astros.
Hanrahan collected his 31st save of the season for the Pirates, winners in 15
of their last 21 contests.
McKenry smoked a two-run home run and Alex Presley added a solo shot for the
Bucs, while Andrew McCutchen went 2-for-4 and raised his major league-leading
average to .369.
Chris Johnson went 3-for-4 with a solo shot and two runs scored and finished a
single shy of the cycle, while Ben Francisco added a solo homer in the setback
for the Astros.
"We've been in games lately," said Johnson. "It's not like guys are coming in
here and just blowing us out. We're being competitive and fighting until the
end. We're going to continue to do that."
The Pirates have hit at least one home run in 17 consecutive road games. In
his last 10 games on the road, McCutchen is hitting 488 (20-for-41).
Pittsburgh has lost the first 2012 meeting between the teams on May 11, but
has since won eight straight.
07/28 10:22:30 ET