for this game

Morris gets first win in over two months, Pirates dump Astros

Aug 26, 2007 - 5:39 AM By Andrew J. Ferraro PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Matt Morris' second straight strong start gave the Pittsburgh Pirates all it needed to hold down the slumping Houston Astros.

Morris, traded from San Francisco to Pittsburgh on July 31, pitched six-plus effective innings as the Pirates spoiled Troy Patton's major league debut with a 4-1 victory at Minute Maid Park on Saturday.

The Pirates (57-71) have been playing well of late, winning their fourth game in a row and eighth of their last 10.

Jose Bautista hit two homers and Josh Phelps added a pinch-hit solo shot for the Pirates, who go for the three-game sweep on Sunday afternoon.

The Astros (57-73) have lost five of their first six games of a 10-game homestand against Washington, Pittsburgh and St. Louis.

Morris (8-8) won for the first time since he beat Toronto with a complete game on June 11 as a member of the San Francisco Giants. The veteran righthander yielded a run, four hits and two walks for his first victory in 2 1/2 months. He had been 0-5 with a 7.04 ERA in his past 12 starts - eight coming with the Giants.

However, in his last two outings, Morris has yielded just two earned runs in 12 2/3 innings. The Pirates are 3-1 in his last four starts, and Morris improved to 12-10 in his career against Houston, including five wins in his last six decisions vs. the Astros.

"I just came in and took this start one pitch at a time and one batter at a time," Morris said. "I was able to feed off my catcher. Ronnie (Paulino) called a quality game. I was just fortunate that Jose got two big hits and gave me enough room to work with."

After Morris surrendered a leadoff single to Ty Wigginton in the seventh, reliever John Grabow recorded two outs before Franquelis Osoria came on to get the last out of the frame.

Osoria also pitched the eighth before turning the ball over to Matt Capps in the ninth. However, Capps ran into trouble, allowing runners to reach first and second with none out before getting out of the jam by inducing Luke Scott to ground into a game-ending double-play.

It was Capps' 13th save of the season.

"Getting that double play was huge, and Matt (Morris) really did a great job getting us through those first six innings," Capps said. "After last night (15-inning game), I was just going off of adrenaline tonight. There wasn't a lot left in the tank."

The Pirates had just one hit through the first three innings off Patton (0-1), who started strong until Bautista began to flex his muscles.

In the top of the fourth, with one out and a runner on first, Bautista drilled a 2-1 slider from Patton over the left field wall to put Pittsburgh up, 2-0. The smash gave the Pirates 38 homers in August, second only to the New York Yankees.

With two outs in the sixth, Bautista belted a 2-2 fastball from Patton over the home run marker in left to make it 3-0. It was Bautista's 12th blast of the year and the first multi-homer game of his career.

"I just think that the two pitches I hit were mistakes," Bautista said. "Patton is just learning to locate his pitches. He pitched a great first game."

After the homer, Patton walked Paulino before Astros manager Phil Garner removed the rookie lefthander from the game.

"I felt pretty good," Patton said. "I think I did all right. I made one big mistake on the solo home run and on the two-run homer. ... I think (Bautista) just saw it out of my hand pretty good. All in all, I competed well and pitched OK."

The 21-year-old Patton allowed three runs, six hits and two walks while striking out four in 5 2/3 innings.

After Morris walked Mike Lamb to start the second inning, the 10-year veteran retired 12 in a row, not allowing another baserunner until Mark Loretta led off the sixth inning with a single to center.

Loretta scored later in the frame when Lance Berkman grounded into a double play with the bases loaded. Morris got out of further trouble by getting Lamb to pop out with runners on first and third.

"Morris is a guy that never gives in, never gives you anything over the plate," Astros rookie Hunter Pence said. "He just keeps hitting the ball an inch off, right on the black, and he just gets you to chase. That is what he did tonight to keep us down."

Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson left the game with a right shin contusion when Wigginton slid into him trying to break up a double play in the seventh inning. He is listed as day-to-day.

"It was a pretty good bruise and it was scraped, too," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. "We are going to be open-minded as far as tomorrow is concerned. Let's just see how (Wilson) feels."








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

    BATTERIES: PIT - MATT MORRIS, JOHN GRABOW (7TH), FRANQUELIS OSORIA (7TH), MATT
    CAPPS (9TH) AND RONNY PAULINO
    HOU - TROY PATTON, DAVE BORKOWSKI (6TH), CHAD QUALLS
    (7TH), TREVE

    Aug 25 9:47 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY JOSH PHELPS (5) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN THE
    9TH OFF TREVER MILLER.
    CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 4, HOUSTON 1
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: N MCLOUTH (.249, 1-FOR-3, BB)

    Pirates vs. AstrosAug 25 9:36 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    LANCE BERKMAN HIT INTO DOUBLE PLAY SCORING MARK LORETTA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C BIGGIO ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 3
    HOUSTON 1 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: C LEE (.306, 0-FOR-2)

    Pirates vs. AstrosAug 25 8:40 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY JOSE BAUTISTA (12) TO LEFT CENTER WITH 2
    OUT IN THE 6TH OFF TROY PATTON.
    CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 3, HOUSTON 0
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: R PAULINO (.244, 2-FOR-2)

    Pirates vs. AstrosAug 25 8:27 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY JOSE BAUTISTA (11) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT
    IN THE 4TH OFF TROY PATTON SCORED ADAM LAROCHE.
    CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 2, HOUSTON 0
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: R PAULINO (.242, 1-FOR-1)

    Pirates vs. AstrosAug 25 7:56 PM
  • 15
    roots
    Cardinal984 Added 5 roots

    Pirates vs. AstrosAug 25 6:38 PM
  • 10
    roots
    saraa Added 5 roots

    Pirates vs. AstrosAug 25 2:28 PM
  • sassibeachgirl Guys like Patton usually beat the Pirates, but now that they're on a roll, tonight might be different. Too bad Nady can't play.

    Pirates vs. AstrosAug 25 2:06 PM
  • 5
    roots
    sassibeachgirl Added 5 roots

    Pirates vs. AstrosAug 25 1:52 PM