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(Saturday, July 28th)
Final Score: Pittsburgh 4, Houston 3
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Rod Barajas knocked in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Houston Astros their 12th consecutive defeat, 4-3, on Saturday at Minute Maid Park.
The Astros' loss established a new club record for futility, as they had previously dropped 11 straight in 1995.
Alex Presley and Neil Walker clubbed solo home runs for the Pirates, who have won four straight games and 16 of their last 22. Garrett Jones added two hits in the victory.
Chris Resop (1-3) earned the win with a scoreless inning of relief behind starter -- and former Astro -- Wandy Rodriguez, who went six solid innings and allowed three runs on six hits and five walks in his Pirates debut.
"I thought he navigated through traffic very well," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said about Rodriguez. "I thought he was probably excited to go out there and pitch. I've never seen him walk five in a game in however many years I've watched him pitch."
With Joel Hanrahan, the league-leader in saves, unavailable, the Pirates went to Jason Grill. He tossed a perfect ninth to lock down his second save of the season.
Justin Maxwell ripped a two-run triple and Carlos Corporan added an RBI single in the loss. Chuckie Fick (0-1) was tagged with the loss after allowing a run on two hits and a walk in one inning.
With the game tied, 3-3, heading into the eighth, Andrew McCutchen worked a leadoff walk and Jones singled up the middle. Fernando Rodriguez came in from the Houston bullpen and retired Walker and Pedro Alvarez, but left a pitch up to Barajas, who ripped it into left field to score McCutchen.
Grilli retired the side in order in the ninth to preserve the victory.
Earlier, Pittsburgh opened the scoring in the first inning when Presley got a sinker from Houston starter Armando Galarraga and blasted it over the wall in right, but the Astros got the run right back in the second against their former teammate.
"I didn't have my best sinker. I've been throwing a lot of good sinkers lately in the last couple of games," said Galarraga.
Maxwell and Ben Francisco drew consecutive walks to start the frame and both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Brian Bixler before Corporan smoked a single to left to tie the game.
The Bucs took the lead in the fourth when Walker laced another high sinker from Galarraga into the second deck in right field for his 10th long ball of the season.
Houston grabbed the lead in the fifth when Jose Altuve singled to start the inning and Matt Downs reached on an infield single. Wandy Rodriguez got Chris Johnson and J.D. Martinez to fly out and went to two strikes on Maxwell, but he left a fastball up in the zone and Maxwell ripped it off the wall in right to score both runners for a 3-2 advantage.
McCutchen singled to begin the Pittsburgh sixth, Jones reached on a fielder's choice and Walker was plunked by Wesley Wright to load the bases with no outs. Alvarez grounded into a 2-3 double play and it looked as if Wright was going to escape unscathed, but, with Barajas at the plate, he uncorked a breaking ball the got past Corporan and allowed Jones to score the tying run.
The Pirates have gone 15-2 in games played on Saturdays this season, including a 6-2 mark on the road...Pittsburgh has hit at least one home run in 18 consecutive road games...The Pirates have posted three consecutive winning months for the first time since doing so every month during the 1991 season...Pittsburgh improved to 9-1 against the Astros this season...It was Altuve's 36th multi-hit game of the season...The Bucs are 50-0 when leading after seven innings this season...Rodriguez was traded to Pittsburgh on Tuesday in exchange for outfielder Robbie Grossman and pitcher Rudy Owens. He posted 80 wins in an Astros uniform, 10th-most in team history...Galarraga allowed three runs -- two earned -- on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
07/29 01:37:47 ET
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