for this game

Matsui propels Astros over Pirates

Jul 10, 2008 - 3:46 AM By Brad Everett PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- For the third time in as many games, the Houston Astros blew a sizable lead against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Unlike the first two, however, the reeling Astros manage to salvage a victory.

Activated from the disabled list earlier in the day, Kaz Matsui hit a run-scoring double in the seventh inning as the Astros averted blowing a four-run, first-inning lead to record a 6-4 triumph over the Pirates on Wednesday.

Geoff Blum belted a three-run homer and Brad Ausmus capped a four-run first inning with an RBI single for Houston, which won for just the second time in its last nine contests.

"I think that win was pretty necessary considering the way things have been going," Blum said. "It's good to get out of here with a win."

Brian Moehler (5-4) allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings to pick up the victory for the second time in his last six starts. Chris Sampson did not surrender a hit in two frames and Jose Valverde worked around a double by Nate McLouth in the ninth for his 23rd save of the season.

McLouth had three doubles and Jason Bay delivered a run-scoring double for Pittsburgh, which saw its modest two-game winning streak come to an end.

With the game tied at 4-4 in the seventh inning, the Astros used their speed to take control of the game.

One out after Michael Bourn led off the frame with a single off of Sean Burnett (0-1), pinch hitter Mark Loretta hit a dribbler in front of catcher Ryan Doumit, who elected to try to throw out Bourn at third. Doumit's throw, however, short-hopped third baseman Jose Bautista, and Bourn slid in safely.

"I think if (Doumit) had it to do over again, he'd probably go to first," Pirates manager John Russell said. "But on a ball like that, he's being aggressive and he thought he had a chance."

One batter later, Hunter Pence hit a soft ground ball to shortstop Jack Wilson, and the speedy Bourn scored easily. Matsui followed with a double to drive in Loretta to account for the final score.

"It's excellent," said Matsui, who was sidelined with strained hamstring. "I just wanted to come back. I was kind of rested. This was my first game, and I felt good."

The result was a pleasant changeup for the Astros, who blew a pair of 3-0 leads en route to losses in the first two games of the series.

"It's definitely a good feeling to finally get a win here. We played awfully hard these last three days," Astros manager Cecil Cooper said. "We did a good job of manufacturing something with those two runs in the seventh inning. I think that's what you have to do. Good clubs do that. When they get a lead, they always add on. And in our case tonight, we were able to do that."

The Astros jumped on Pirates starter John Van Benschoten early, scoring four runs and sending nine batters to the plate in the first inning. Blum's three-run shot - his sixth homer of the season - provided most of the damage and Ausmus followed three batters later with a run-scoring single.

"I was looking for a fastball away, but he left it middle-down, which is obviously a good place for a lefthander to drive the ball, especially in this park," Blum said.

The Pirates, though, began to mount a comeback one inning later.

After Adam LaRoche got the Pirates on the board with an RBI groundout in the second, Doumit hit an RBI single and Bay smacked a run-scoring double in a two-run third inning to cut the deficit to one.

In the sixth, Freddy Sanchez belted a sacrifice fly to knot the contest at 4-4.

It was (frustrating)," Russell said of the loss. "We fought back and tied the game. We had opportunities and we thought things were really going our way, and then we give up two runs like that, and it took a little wind out of our sails."








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    HOUSTON 4 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 6 10 0
    PITTSBURGH 0 1 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 4 8 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: HOU - BRIAN MOEHLER, CHRIS SAMPSON (7TH), JOSE VALVERDE (9TH) AND
    BRAD AUSMUS
    PIT - JOHN VAN BENSCHOTEN, SEAN BURNETT (5TH), TYLER
    YATES (7TH), T.J. BEAM (9TH) AND

    Jul 9 10:20 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY KAZ MATSUI SCORED MARK LORETTA.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, K MATSUI ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 6
    PITTSBURGH 4 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: L BERKMAN (.348, 1-FOR-2, BB, HBP)

    Astros 6, Pirates 4  Top 7, 0 OutsJul 9 9:34 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY HUNTER PENCE SCORED MICHAEL BOURN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M LORETTA ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 5
    PITTSBURGH 4 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: K MATSUI (.271, 1-FOR-4)

    Astros 5, Pirates 4  Top 7, 0 OutsJul 9 9:30 PM
  • 26
    roots
    McTool Added 5 roots

    Astros 4, Pirates 4  Top 7, 0 OutsJul 9 9:26 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY FREDDY SANCHEZ SCORED NATE MCLOUTH.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 4
    PITTSBURGH 4 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: R DOUMIT (.321, 1-FOR-2, RBI)

    Astros 4, Pirates 4  Bot 5, 0 OutsJul 9 8:54 PM
  • 21
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 16 roots

    Astros 4, Pirates 3  Bot 5, 0 OutsJul 9 8:46 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JASON BAY SCORED RYAN DOUMIT.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J BAY ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 4
    PITTSBURGH 3 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: X NADY (.324, 1-FOR-1)

    Astros 4, Pirates 3  Bot 3, 0 OutsJul 9 8:12 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY RYAN DOUMIT SCORED NATE MCLOUTH.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R DOUMIT ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 4
    PITTSBURGH 2 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: J BAY (.291, 0-FOR-1)

    Astros 4, Pirates 2  Bot 3, 0 OutsJul 9 8:10 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY ADAM LAROCHE SCORED XAVIER NADY.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 4
    PITTSBURGH 1 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: D MIENTKIEWICZ (.274, 1 HR, 15 RBI)

    Astros 4, Pirates 1  Bot 2, 0 OutsJul 9 7:46 PM


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

    CURRENT PITCHERS: HOU - BRIAN MOEHLER
    PIT - JOHN VAN BENSCHOTEN

    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: N MCLOUTH (.280, 17 HR, 60 RBI)
    F SANCHEZ (.228, 5 HR, 32 RBI)
    R DOUMIT (.319, 11 HR,

    Astros 4, Pirates 0  Bot 1, 0 OutsJul 9 7:22 PM
  • 5
    roots
    aqualung1 Added 5 roots

    Astros vs. PiratesApr 2 4:33 AM