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Pirates go above .500 after taking down Astros

Jun 16, 2011 - 7:01 AM Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Xavier Paul belted a two-run homer and Neil Walker added three RBI to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates past the Houston Astros, 7-3, in second of a three-game set.

Paul, who entered the game in the sixth inning, added a double and a single and scored a pair of runs, while Garrett Jones and Andrew McCutchen each had an RBI.

Charlie Morton (7-3) lasted five innings to improve to 5-0 against the NL Central this season. He allowed three runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out three. The Pirates won their third straight and moved above .500 for the first time since May 9.

J.A. Happ allowed two runs over five innings before being spelled by Enerio Del Rosario (0-1), who surrendered three runs in the sixth to suffer the loss.

"That fifth inning was a stressful inning for him," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "He threw 29 pitches, I think it was. He had 108 pitches after the fifth, and that's why we got him out after the fifth. We got that run in the bottom half of the fifth, and we were hoping we were going to be able to get [the win] for him."

Michael Bourn went 3-for-4 and Brett Wallace went 2-for-3 with an RBI for the Astros, who have dropped 10 of their last 12.

With Houston leading 3-2, Rosario replaced Happ to start the sixth and allowed a one-out double to Paul. Jose Tabata followed with a single, placing runners on the corners, before Jones singled to right, scoring Paul. Andrew McCutchen then ground a ball to first and Wallace, attempting to get Tabata at home, sailed the ball wide, allowing Tabata to score and Jones to advance to third. Walker then placed a sac fly into left, scoring Jones and giving the Pirates a 5-3 lead.

With Michael McKenry aboard in the seventh, Paul emphatically added insurance with a two-run blast to left, extending Pittsburgh's lead to 7-3.

"We found a way to score some runs after being down, 3-2, going into the sixth, so good for us," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

The Pirates were scrappy from the start, placing McCutchen aboard in the first with a two-out walk, before Walker sliced a 3-2 fastball down the right field line. The ball, fading fast, barely escaped the reach of the diving Hunter Pence and rolled into the corner to score McCutchen and give Walker an RBI triple.

With one down in the third, Matt Diaz ripped a double down the line in left. After a McCutchen fly-out, Walker stayed hot with two-down, ripping a Happ offering up the middle to score Diaz and give the Pirates a 2-0 lead.

After getting on the scoreboard in the third, Houston knotted the game in the fourth, as J.R. Towles worked a leadoff walk, advanced to second on Happ's sac bunt and came around to score on Bourn's single to left.

With two down and Chris Johnson at first in the fifth, the Astros took their first lead of the game, as Clint Barmes belted a double off the left field wall to plate Johnson.

Game Notes

This is the latest in the season that the Pirates have been over .500 since August 15, 1999...Bourn was a late addition to the lineup. He was initially held out in favor of Jason Bourgeois due to illness...Pence went 2- for-5. His career-best hit streak came to a halt at 23 games on Tuesday...McCutchen extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games...McKenry went 2-for-5 to register the first two hits of his major league career.








  • PITTSBURGH: 7
    HOUSTON: 3
    Final

    Jun 15 11:51 PM


  • Xavier Paul two-out, two-run Home Run (1) to left scored Michael McKenry. Jose Tabata due up.

    Pirates 7, Astros 3  Top 7, 2 OutsJun 15 10:50 PM
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    Pirates 5, Astros 3  Top 7, 1 OutJun 15 10:47 PM


  • Neil Walker sacrifice fly to left scored Garrett Jones with two out. Runner on first and Lyle Overbay due up.

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    Pirates 5, Astros 3  Top 6, 2 OutsJun 15 10:20 PM


  • Andrew McCutchen reached on fielder's choice scored Jose Tabata with one out. On the play, Garrett Jones advances to third on Brett Wallace's throwing error. Runners on first and third and Neil Walker due up.

    Pirates 4, Astros 3  Top 6, 1 OutJun 15 10:18 PM
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    Pirates 4, Astros 3  Top 6, 1 OutJun 15 10:18 PM


  • J.R. Towles flied out to right to end the inning.

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    Pirates 2, Astros 2  Bot 5, 1 OutJun 15 9:54 PM
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    Pirates 2, Astros 2  Top 5, 2 OutsJun 15 9:44 PM
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  • Michael Bourn single to left scored J.R. Towles with one out. On the play, Michael Bourn advances to second on the throw. Runner on second with one out and Jeff Keppinger due up.

    Pirates 2, Astros 2  Bot 4, 1 OutJun 15 9:29 PM
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    Pirates 2, Astros 1  Top 4, 2 OutsJun 15 9:18 PM


  • Brett Wallace single to left scored Michael Bourn with two out. On the play, Jeff Keppinger advances to second. Runners on first and second and Chris Johnson due up.

    Pirates 2, Astros 1  Bot 3, 2 OutsJun 15 9:08 PM
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    Pirates 2, Astros 0  Bot 3, 2 OutsJun 15 9:05 PM


  • Neil Walker single to center scored Matt Diaz with two out. Runner on first and Lyle Overbay due up.

    Pirates 2, Astros 0  Top 3, 2 OutsJun 15 8:50 PM


  • Neil Walker triple to right scored Andrew McCutchen with two out. Runner on third and Lyle Overbay due up.

    Pirates 1, Astros 0  Top 1, 2 OutsJun 15 8:12 PM


  • PITTSBURGH: 0
    HOUSTON: 0
    Top 1, 0 Outs

    Jun 15 8:05 PM
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    Pirates vs. AstrosJun 15 12:03 PM