Williams pitches Astros past PiratesJul 22, 2007 - 9:11 PM PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Woody Williams' difficulties on the road may be coming to and end.
Williams pitched eight outstanding innings as the Houston Astros edged the Pittsburgh Pirates, 1-0, on Sunday.
Entering the game with a 1-8 record and 5.58 ERA in 12 starts on the road this season, Williams (5-11) allowed five hits and did not walk a batter while striking out three. He departed after 91 pitches.
"I felt comfortable out there today," said Williams, who was 0-2 against Pittsburgh this season. "They have beaten me up a couple times this year, but today I was able to get ahead and control my pitches."
After allowing three hard-hit balls in the eighth inning, Williams gave way to Brad Lidge in the ninth.
The closer allowed a two-out single to Adam LaRoche, who moved to second base moments later on a wild pitch, before striking out Xavier Nady to earn his third save of the season.
"He threw the ball so well, I just didn't want to come in there and blow it because there's no telling how well the ninth could have gone for him," said Lidge, who regained the closer's job last week.
Luke Scott's two-out RBI single off starter Shane Youman (2-2) in the sixth provided the lone run of the game for the Astros, who had just four hits. Scott entered the game in the fourth inning after rookie Hunter Pence left with a wrist injury.
Brad Ausmus scored the only run had two hits for the Astros, who have won three of five.
"We scored six runs in the series and won two games," Houston manager Phil Garner said. "Sometimes this game baffles you, but we'll take it."
Making his fourth start of the season and seventh of his career, Youman nearly matched Williams' performance.
The lefthander allowed one run, four hits and two walks while striking out three in eight innings. Youman also benefited from two spectacular plays by center fielder Nate McLouth.
"That was the best game Shane Youman has pitched since he's been here," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. "And it's a shame that he pitches a game like that and we're unable to score."
Youman said he was pleased with his effort despite the hard-luck loss.
"I felt good," he said. "I threw my pitches for strikes. I made big pitches in key situations and my defense was able to help me out in key situations. I felt pretty confident out there today. Things just didn't work out in my favor."
Williams, who hadn't pitched eight innings in a game since May 7, 2006 allowed only five baserunners and did not permit a Pittsburgh player to reach third base. He also made a shining defensive play, catching a sharp line drive off the bat of Josh Phelps to open the eighth inning.
"(Williams) has been around a long time. He knows how to pitch," said Cesar Izturis, who went 1-for-3 in his first start for Pittsburgh after being acquired in a trade last week. "He was throwing strikes and his breaking ball was good today, so you've got to tip your hat to him."
Matt Kata had two hits for the Pirates, who have lost eight of nine since the All-Star break.
Pence is day-to-day after leaving the game with a sprained right wrist. An emerging candidate for National League Rookie of the Year, Pence is batting .330 with 12 home runs and 45 RBI.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
HOUSTON 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 4 0
PITTSBURGH 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: HOU - WOODY WILLIAMS, BRAD LIDGE (9TH) AND BRAD AUSMUS
PIT - SHANE YOUMAN, MATT CAPPS (9TH) AND RYAN DOUMIT
HOME RUNS: HOU - NONE
PIT - NONE
Jul 22 3:47 PM
AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
SINGLE BY LUKE SCOTT SCORED BRAD AUSMUS.
SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, L SCOTT ON FIRST, 2 OUT
CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 1
PITTSBURGH 0 TOP, 6TH
DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: M LORETTA (.308, 0-FOR-1, BB)
Astros vs. PiratesJul 22 2:41 PM
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