Coming home from a pretty successful road trip, the Bucs began a four game series against the Astros tonight. James McDonald took the hill, but wasn’t his normal self early. He gave up three walks in the first inning and Houston made it 1-0 on a bloop single.
Alex Presley hit a two-out triple in the third, but was stranded. In the fourth, the Astros had a runner on second with two outs, and the number eight batter up. Hurdle decided to walk Jordan Schafer, who was hitting .236, to get to the pitcher, Jordan Lyles. McDonald continued to struggle finding the strike zone, walking Lyles on five pitches. He was able to get a groundout to keep the deficit at one run.
All-Star Andrew McCutchen led off the fourth with the first of his four hits, and Garrett Jones followed with a two-run shot off the right field foul pole. Neil Walker was the next batter, and he smacked a hanging curveball for back-to-back home runs off the same pole. Casey McGehee just missed a home run of his own, doubling off the wall. Clint Barmes drove him in, and the Bucs started the fourth with five straight hits.
The fifth inning was where the game really got broken open. Drew Sutton led off with a triple, followed by two straight doubles by Cutch and Jones. That chased Lyles from the game, and Rhiner Cruz came in. After a walk, McGehee hit his second double of the game, driving in two runs to make it 8-1.
Scott Moore tanked a solo shot in the sixth, but that was it for the Astros offensively. Jones tacked on an RBI-single and Neil drove in two more on a double in the eighth. J-Mac ended up going seven innings, giving up just four hits, but walking five Astros. He struck out four, and Jared Hughes closed out the game with two scoreless innings.
The Pirates finished with 33 total bases, 18 hits, and 9 extra-base hits. It was really a fun night at the ballpark, and it was great to see the Bucs absolutely mash against a pretty bad Astros team. If the Pirates continue to rake against bad teams, they’ll have no problem racking up wins in the next month.
Pirates (43-36) – Astros (32-48)
Win: McDonald (8-3)
Loss: Lyles (2-5)