for this game

Maholm supported by homers as Pirates crush Astros

Jul 23, 2008 - 4:17 AM By Gene Duffy PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Paul Maholm threw eight solid innings and was backed by homers from Freddy Sanchez, All-Star Nate McLouth and Ryan Doumit as the Pittsburgh Pirates posted an 8-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday.

Maholm (7-6), who suffered his first loss since May 20 on Thursday at Colorado, rebounded to retire the first 10 batters he faced and allowed five singles. The lefthander struck out five, walked one and threw 69 of his 108 pitches for strikes.

"Maholm is a breath of fresh air every time he takes the hill," Doumit said. "He's been our ace all year."

"I've been pretty solid for a while," Maholm said. "In Colorado, I had three good innings and it kind of unwound. I let myself down and let the team down. We had a 3-0 lead. It was frustrating."

Maholm did not let his team down this time, and he benefited from the Pirates' suddenly red-hot offense.

Pittsburgh, which arrived in Houston on a five-game losing streak, has scored 17 runs in the first two games of the series. The Pirates plated seven runs in the ninth inning Monday night and picked up where they left off in this one.

"We were hoping (Monday) night would carry over," Pittsburgh manager John Russell said. "We hit some balls very hard and got some breaks."

One of those breaks came in the very first inning.

Sanchez, who hit an inside-the-park homer Monday night, belted one out of the park on Tuesday - but not without some controversy. Sanchez's shot to left-center field off Astros spot starter Jack Cassel (1-1) bounced back in to play and originally appeared to be a double.

But the umpires discussed the play and ruled it a home run, Sanchez's seventh.

"I couldn't tell," Sanchez said. "I had my head down, running. I didn't know what to expect (when the umpires met)."

Xavier Nady doubled, Adam LaRoche singled and a double play scored another run in the second to make it 2-0. McLouth hit his 20th homer in the third to make it a three-run game.

That made Maholm's job that much easier.

"It's big, especially with that left field porch out there," Maholm said of the early lead.

Pittsburgh continued to pile on as Jack Wilson led off the fifth with a double and later scored on a single by Sanchez. Doumit singled and Sanchez scored on a base hit to left by Jason Bay to stretch the lead to 5-0.

Doumit added a towering three-run homer to left, his 12th, in the seventh to make it 8-0.

"That one felt good," Doumit said. "We've got some thunder in this lineup. We feel we can hit anybody."

Cassel, who was called up Tuesday from Class AAA Round Rock, was filling in for injured ace Roy Oswalt. The righthanded Cassel started two games in April for Houston and notched one of his two career wins by beating Pittsburgh last September.

Cassel lasted 4 2/3 innings, allowing five runs and nine hits.

Hunter Pence had an RBI single in the seventh and Ty Wigginton added another in the ninth for Houston.

"We weren't flat," Astros manager Cecil Cooper said. "It was just the other guy pitched well. He's a pretty good-looking lefthanded pitcher. We didn't swing the bats very well, but he's one of the better lefthanders out there."








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    PITTSBURGH 1 1 1 0 2 0 3 0 0 8 11 0
    HOUSTON 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 2 6 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: PIT - PAUL MAHOLM, SEAN BURNETT (9TH) AND RYAN DOUMIT
    HOU - JACK CASSEL, CHAD PARONTO (5TH), TIM BYRDAK
    (7TH), WESLEY WRIGHT (9TH) AND HUMBERTO QUINTERO

    HOME RUNS

    Jul 22 10:37 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY TY WIGGINTON SCORED CARLOS LEE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, T WIGGINTON ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 8
    HOUSTON 2 BOTTOM, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: H QUINTERO (.227, 0-FOR-3)

    Pirates 8, Astros 2  Bot 9, 0 OutsJul 22 10:35 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY HUNTER PENCE SCORED LANCE BERKMAN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, H PENCE ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 8
    HOUSTON 1 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: T WIGGINTON (.268, 0-FOR-2)

    Pirates 8, Astros 1  Bot 7, 0 OutsJul 22 10:01 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY RYAN DOUMIT (12) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT
    IN THE 7TH OFF TIM BYRDAK SCORED JACK WILSON AND FREDDY SANCHEZ.
    CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 8, HOUSTON 0
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: J BAY (.290, 2-FOR-3, RBI)

    Pirates 8, Astros 0  Top 7, 0 OutsJul 22 9:48 PM
  • 38
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 28 roots

    Pirates 5, Astros 0  Bot 5, 0 OutsJul 22 9:21 PM
  • 10
    roots
    McTool Added 5 roots

    Pirates 5, Astros 0  Top 5, 0 OutsJul 22 9:20 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JASON BAY SCORED FREDDY SANCHEZ.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J BAY ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 5
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: X NADY (.328, 1-FOR-2)

    Pirates 5, Astros 0  Top 5, 0 OutsJul 22 9:17 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY FREDDY SANCHEZ SCORED JACK WILSON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, F SANCHEZ ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 4
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: R DOUMIT (.319, 0-FOR-2)

    Pirates 4, Astros 0  Top 5, 0 OutsJul 22 9:16 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY NATE MCLOUTH (20) TO CENTER WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 3RD OFF JACK CASSEL.
    CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 3, HOUSTON 0
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: F SANCHEZ (.236, 1-FOR-1, HR, RBI)

    Pirates 3, Astros 0  Top 3, 0 OutsJul 22 8:36 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    JOSE BAUTISTA HIT INTO DOUBLE PLAY SCORING XAVIER NADY.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 2
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: P MAHOLM (.128, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

    Pirates 2, Astros 0  Top 2, 0 OutsJul 22 8:26 PM


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

    CURRENT PITCHERS: PIT - PAUL MAHOLM
    HOU - JACK CASSEL

    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: K MATSUI (.283, 1 HR, 19 RBI)
    M BOURN (.219, 4 HR, 15 RBI)
    L BERKMAN (.339, 22 HR, 73 RBI)

    Pirates 1, Astros 0  Bot 1, 0 OutsJul 22 8:11 PM
  • 5
    roots
    aqualung1 Added 5 roots

    Pirates vs. AstrosApr 2 4:34 AM