With a late-game rally, the Pittsburgh Pirates overtook the Houston Astros for a 5-4 win on Friday, taking Game 1 of a three-game set at PNC Park. The victory gave the Bucs (25-17) their first four-game win streak this season.
Everything came together for the Bucs when Russell Martin’s bases-loaded fly ball popped out of right fielder Jimmy Paredes’ glove when he collided with second baseman Jake Elmore with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. It was the second missed catch of the night by a Houston right fielder, as Chris Carter had a miscue that allowed Andrew McCutchen to reach base in the sixth.
For the second night in a a row, a member of the Bucs put a ball into the Allegheny River. This time it was third baseman Pedro Alvarez, who launched a two-run home run in the eighth, a 462-foot blast that cleared the right-field seats and went into the river on one hop. The mammoth shot tied the game 4-4 and set up the ninth-inning walk-off. Alvarez went 2 for 4 on the night.
Pittsburgh’s best weapon on the night was McCutchen, who scored twice while going 3 for 5 with a first-inning solo home run, raising his batting average to .276. He hit .381 against the Astros last season.
The Astros had put together a 4-1 lead on catcher Jason Castro’s sacrifice fly in the top of the first and a three-run third that included third baseman Matt Dominguez’s solo home run, Elmore’s run-scoring single, and a throwing error by Neil Walker at second.
Houston starter Jordan Lyles allowed two runs – one earned – and four hits in five innings on the night. He is now 0-4 with a 6.75 ERA in six career starts against the Bucs.
Pittsburgh starter Jeanmar Gomez did not have a good outing as he gave up four runs, three of them earned, on five hits in 4 2/3 innings. Lefthanded reliever Justin Wilson picked up his fourth victory of the season when he pitched a scoreless ninth.
The Houston Astros (11-31) will send lefthander Erik Bedard (0-2, 6.67 ERA) to the mound at 7:05 p.m. Saturday while the Pirates will counter with righthander A.J. Burnett (3-4, 2.73 ERA). The game will be broadcast on ROOT Sports.
From The Clipboard: The Bucs are now a season-high eight games over .500….Clint Hurdle’s crew went 7-2 at PNC Park and 10-8 overall against the American League last season….The Pirates have homered in 16 of their last 19 games, and in 23 of their last 28….The game attendance was 29,743 despite the Penguins playing across town at Consol Energy Center.