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Pirates earn first three-game sweep of season

Jun 16, 2011 - 10:32 PM Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Garrett Jones belted a three-run homer as the Pittsburgh Pirates downed the Houston Astros, 5-4, to earn their first three-game sweep of the season.

Jones added a sinking line drive in the sixth, which Michael Bourn misplayed, allowing Andrew McCutchen to cross the plate, breaking a 3-3 tie.

Trailing 5-3 with one down in the ninth, Houston drew within a run on a Jeff Keppinger RBI single. After a Hunter Pence groundout, Brandon Wood bobbled a Carlos Lee grounder before recovering to nail him by a hair, giving Jose Veras his first save of the season.

James McDonald (5-4) allowed three runs on seven hits and four walks while striking out four over 5 2/3 innings to earn the win.

"I thought I competed, kept us in the game," McDonald said. "I didn't have my best stuff. I didn't have the command, but I was proud I went at the guys, being aggressive, leaving it all out there."

Jordan Lyles (0-2), making his fourth career start, allowed five runs -- three earned -- on four hits and one walk while striking out eight for the Astros, who have dropped 11 of 13.

With two-down and two aboard in the top of the first Lyles allowed Jones to belt a 1-2 fastball into the seats in left, but then settled in to retire the next 15 batters in order.

It wasn't until the sixth, when McCutchen and Neil Walker ripped back-to- back two-out singles, that Lyles faltered. He was promptly pulled in favor of Sergio Escalona, who surrendered Jones' liner to center. The ball, fading fast, glanced off the glove of the diving Bourn, as McCutchen crossed the plate to give the Pirates the lead. Josh Harrison then lifted a towering fly to right, which Pence reached, but short-armed as he approached the wall, allowing the ball fall in for a double, plating Walker.

The Astros had scrapped to knot the game following Jones' early homer.

They broke through in the fourth, as Brett Wallace led off with a walk and Matt Downs followed with a double to left to place runners on second and third. Both runners advanced on an Angel Sanchez groundout and Houston cut the Pirates' advantage to one with a Carlos Corporan sac fly to center.

Bourn led off the fifth with a walk, advanced to second on a Keppinger groundout and came around to score on a Pence double off the wall in left- center, tying the game, 3-3.

Game Notes

The Pirates are now two games over .500 this late in the season for the first time since being 40-38 on July 2, 1999...The win marked their first sweep in Minute Maid Park since July 21-23, 2008...Tony Watson has not allowed a run in his first five major league appearances...McCutchen went 1-for-2, presumably extending his career-high hit streak to 15 games, but Major League Baseball announced Thursday that it overturned a ruling on July 11, in which McCutchen was awarded a two-run double against the New York Mets. The ruling was changed to an error on Daniel Murphy, effectively ending McCutchen's hit streak that day at nine games.

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    Pirates 5, Astros 4  FinalJun 17 10:41 AM

    HOUSTON: 4

    Jun 16 5:03 PM

  • Jeff Keppinger singled to center scored Jason Bourgeois. Runner on first with one out and Hunter Pence due up.

    Pirates 5, Astros 4  Bot 9, 1 OutJun 16 4:57 PM
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    Pirates 5, Astros 4  Bot 9, 1 OutJun 16 4:57 PM

  • Josh Harrison doubled to right scored Neil Walker. On the play, Garrett Jones out at home, right to second to catcher to end the inning.

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  • Garrett Jones reached first on Michael Bourn's fielding error scored Andrew McCutchen. On the play, Neil Walker advances to third. Runners on first and third with two outs and Josh Harrison due up.

    Pirates 4, Astros 3  Top 6, 2 OutsJun 16 3:53 PM
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    Pirates 3, Astros 3  Top 6, 1 OutJun 16 3:41 PM

  • Hunter Pence doubled to left center scored Michael Bourn. Runner on second with one out and Carlos Lee due up.

    Pirates 3, Astros 3  Bot 5, 1 OutJun 16 3:29 PM
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    Pirates 3, Astros 2  Mid 5Jun 16 3:19 PM

  • Carlos Corporan sacrifice fly out to center scored Matt Downs. None on with two outs and Jordan Lyles due up.

    Pirates 3, Astros 2  Bot 4, 2 OutsJun 16 3:10 PM
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    Pirates 3, Astros 2  Bot 4, 2 OutsJun 16 3:10 PM

  • Angel Sanchez grounded out third to first scored Brett Wallace. On the play, Matt Downs advances to third. Runner on third with one out and Carlos Corporan due up.

    Pirates 3, Astros 1  Bot 4, 1 OutJun 16 3:10 PM

  • Josh Harrison grounded out third to first to end the inning.

    Pirates 3, Astros 0  Mid 1Jun 16 2:21 PM

    HOUSTON: 0
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    Jun 16 2:07 PM
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    Pirates vs. AstrosJun 16 9:03 AM