for this game

Oswalt handles Pirates before leaving with injury

Jul 21, 2007 - 4:13 AM PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- All-Star Roy Oswalt ended his road woes, but his health may be of bigger concern to the Houston Astros.

Oswalt bounced back from his worst start of the season by throwing six-plus solid innings but was forced to leave with a rib cage injury in the seventh as the Astros defeated the woeful Pittsburgh Pirates, 2-1, on Friday.

With Houston leading, 2-1, in the seventh, Oswalt allowed a leadoff double by Ronny Paulino before manager Phil Garner and the team trainer came to the mound to check on the team's ace, who left with what was called a costochondral injury.

"I've never had it before," Oswalt said. "I felt it in the fifth and felt I could throw through it, but then it got worse and worse. I'll see how I feel in two days.

"We'll wait and see. I'll be able to tell in two or three days (if I'll be able to make my next start)."

The ailment put a damper on a solid start by the 29-year-old Oswalt, who allowed one run and seven hits with four strikeouts en route to his first road win since May 7.

"I felt great today, that's the worst part about coming out in the sixth," Oswalt said. "I felt like I had good-enough stuff to get through to maybe the eighth or ninth inning tonight."

Oswalt, who had been 0-4 with a 6.97 ERA in his last six starts away from Minute Maid Park, was relieved by Dan Wheeler.

Houston's former closer stranded the tying run at second base by getting a strikeout and a double play, then worked out of a two-on, one-out jam in the eighth.

"It was unfortunate to see Roy leave the game like that," Wheeler said. "He was throwing the ball great and I was thinking maybe he might just cruise on through the ninth the way he was throwing the ball. But you've still got to be ready because you never know. And I was."

Brad Lidge made things interesting in the ninth before notching his second save since reclaiming the closer's job on Tuesday.

Lidge allowed a leadoff single by Paulino and issued a one-out walk to pinch hitter Xavier Nady before hitting Nate McLouth with a pitch. On video replays, the pitch appeared to bounce in the dirt between McLouth's feet.

"I didn't think it hit Nate at all. I thought he did a nice acting job," Astros catcher Brad Ausmus said. "I didn't think it hit him (then), and I still don't think it hit him."

But it would not matter because after striking out Matt Kata, Lidge closed it out by getting Freddy Sanchez to fan on a ball in the dirt, which Ausmus dropped before tagging the plate to end the contest. The ball hit plate umpire Joe West, keeping it from going to the backstop.

"It was pure panic," Ausmus said. "I don't panic a lot, but that was panic right there."

"He giveth and he taketh away," Lidge said of West, referring to the call on the pitch to McLouth and the subsequent carom on the game's final pitch. "It's nice to have them a lot more simple than that, but fortunately, we got it done."

Meanwhile, Oswalt (9-6) pitched well enough to bounce back from allowing a season-high eight earned runs in 5 1/3 innings against Chicago on Saturday. He got some early help from fellow All-Star Carlos Lee, who kept up his torrid pace by belting a two-run homer in the first off Tom Gorzelanny.

Lee hit a 3-1 offering into the left field seats with two outs for his 19th homer of the season. He is hitting .400 (6-for-15) with three homers and seven RBI in his last four games.

Even Gorzelanny (9-5), the team's most reliable starter, could not cure the Pirates woes. Lee's home run was one of the few mistakes the lefthander made, as he allowed just two runs and six hits in seven innings but fell to 1-4 in five career starts against Houston.

"It was supposed to be a two-seamer that went away, but that one cut in on me and he took full advantage of it," Gorzelanny said. Gorzelanny has failed to win four straight starts for the first time in his career.

Chris Burke had two hits and scored on Lee's home run for Houston, which won for just the second time in eight games.

Pittsburgh (40-55) remained winless since the All-Star break, losing a season-high seven straight, and has fallen a season-worst 15 games under .500.

The Pirates scored their only run in the fourth. Reigning National League batting champion Sanchez led off with a double to center field and later scored on a two-out single to left by Jason Bay to reduce the deficit to 2-1.

Pittsburgh went just 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

"We had entirely too many offensive situations tonight where there was opportunity to cash in and win the ballgame but we weren't able to do it," Pittsburgh manager Jim Tracy said. "When you have the offensive opportunities that we had - and one after another, we squandered them - and you only score one run in a game, you're going to get beat."








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    HOUSTON 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 7 0
    PITTSBURGH 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 9 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: HOU - ROY OSWALT, DAN WHEELER (7TH), BRAD LIDGE (9TH) AND BRAD
    AUSMUS
    PIT - TOM GORZELANNY, SHAWN CHACON (8TH), MATT CAPPS
    (9TH) AND RONNY PAULINO

    HOME RUNS: HOU

    Jul 20 10:01 PM
  • 40
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Astros vs. PiratesJul 20 9:35 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JASON BAY SCORED FREDDY SANCHEZ.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J BAY ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 2
    PITTSBURGH 1 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: R PAULINO (.235, 0-FOR-1)

    Astros vs. PiratesJul 20 8:00 PM


  • NL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    HOUSTON 2 2 2 0
    PITTSBURGH 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: HOU - ROY OSWALT
    PIT - TOM GORZELANNY

    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: N MCLOUTH (.231, 2 HR, 10 RBI)
    M KATA (.200, 0 HR, 1 RBI)
    F SANCHEZ (.297, 4 HR, 34 RBI)

    Astros vs. PiratesJul 20 7:13 PM
  • 5
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    Elephande Added 5 roots

    Astros vs. PiratesJul 20 10:48 AM