JD Martinez led off the second with a knock to right, and a swinging bunt by Brian Bogusevich moved him up a station. A Scott Moore bouncer moved him to third, and a Carlos Corporan liner to right left him there. Presley started off for the Bucs by banging one to first. Brett Wallace booted it to let him aboard, and The King moved up on KC's bunt and went to third on a wild pitch. Holt legged out a 3-2 infield knock, and the Bucs had another point on the board. Welcome to the Pirates, Brock - he was caught stealing, taking a pretty jerky jump. That was followed by a Bucco rarity - Barmes walked on a 3-2 pitch. Cutch grounded out to short, and it was 3-0 after two frames.
Correia tossed a clean third. Abad did too, whiffing both GI and Pedro.
Jimmy Paredes began the fourth with a double to left, taking a curve the opposite way. KC lost Brett Wallace with a full count slider away. Martinez went down swinging, missing a heater. Bogusivch knocked a first pitch slider to center, plating Paredes, and Moore followed with a knock to right to juice the bases. Corporan came to the rescue; he banged a grounder to Gaby who went home to start a 3-2-3 DP with Barajas and squelch the Astros after a run.
Hot Rod started the Bucs up by taking a heater to right to open the Pirate half. Presley caught a 1-2 fastball pretty much down the middle and ripped it to the 399' mark in center for a triple, putting the lead back to three. KC went down swinging, but took a year off Abad's arm, fouling off six straight pitches in a nine-pitch at bat. Holt took first pitch gas to center, and the fly was deep enough to get Presley home. Barmes fouled off the first five pitches he saw, then took four off the dish to draw his second walk of the night. Who knew he was a natural two hitter? Cutch bounced out, but the Bucco pad was now 5-1, and Abad is at 87 pitches through four frames. It was his last inning.
KC shut the gate in fifth, and Mickey Storey took the ball for Houston. With an out, Gaby singled to left, but was left on first. Corriea threw another spotless frame in the sixth; he's been efficient, too, at just 67 pitches. The King started the Bucco half with a knock to right. Jeff Clement batted for Correia, kinda a surprise with his pitch count, but he hasn't started for awhile and was probably on a short leash to start. Clement walked, and Holt dropped a bunt to move the runners up a base. That brought on Hector Ambriz. Barmes ran a perfect squeeze to score Presley; we guess the ol' skipper wanted to practice a little small ball tonight, even if he gave up two outs to score. After six, it was 6-1 Buccos.
Jared Hughes took the bump in the seventh. After fanning the pair of 'Stros, Corporan yanked a heater away off the Clemente Wall for a double. Tyler Greene took a pretty good rip, too, but Cutch tracked his shot to end the frame. Xavier Cedeno jumped in the fire for Houston. He put Jones on with a wide 3-2 heater. Gaby singled to center, putting Bucs at first and second with his third knock. Pedro went after a first pitch hook and flew out to left, and Hot Rod flew out to right. Presley lined out to short on an 0-2 curve to end the frame.
Jason Castro opened the eighth with a single off Hughes. Jose Altuve tapped the next pitch back to the box for a quick 1-6-3 DP to clean things up. Paredes bounced out, and there three outs left to record. Wilton Lopez toed the rubber for the Astros and put Pittsburgh away handily with a pair of swinging whiffs. Jason Grilli came on to tie the bow. Wallace took a fastball into center to start the Houston ninth. After two outs, Brandon Laird took a first pitch heater yard to make it 6-3. Grilled Cheese shrugged it off and blew some gas past Corporan to ice the win.
It was a game the Bucs had to have, and while not pretty, it was workmanlike, led by KC's strong six inning outing. St. Louis lost, so the Bucs are 1-1/2 behind them for the second wild card. Now they have to make hay against the Cubbies, who come to town Friday after a Thursday R&R day for the Pirates.
- Garrett Jones extended his hitting streak to eight games.
- With their 72nd win, the Pirates equaled last year's win total.
- Tonight's attendance was 14,159.
- JT was scratched from the lineup and replaced by Alex Presley. Tabata's foot was bruised last night when he fouled a pitch off his shoe. Clint Hurdle moved Clint Barmes to the two hole and is batting Presley in Barme's vacated eight spot.
- Travis Snider's hammy tweak is expected to cost him "a few days."
- Neil Walker is now not expected to play during the upcoming Chicago series as first hoped. The fielding went OK, but he's still having trouble swinging a bat.
- Happy Birthday, Hot Rod Barajas. The Bucco catcher is 37 today.
- Luis Heredia tossed five shutout frames in his last start for State College, giving up two hits and a walk with five K. The 18 year old finished 4-2 with a 2.71 ERA