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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 Park.
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 club record.
"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 won, 6-5.
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
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