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Houston at Pittsburgh

Astros-Pirates game postponed due to rain

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

PITTSBURGH -- Houston Astros pitching prospect Ezequiel Astacio's plane trip to Pittsburgh for his first major league start instead turned into an unwanted round trip back to Round Rock.

Houston's game against the Pirates was postponed Tuesday night due to a forecast of evening-long rain and was rescheduled as part of a doubleheader on July 19 at 5:05 p.m.

The scheduled pitchers, the Astros' Andy Pettitte (1-1) and the Pirates' Kip Wells (1-2), will start Wednesday's game, scheduled for 12:35 p.m. That means Astacio heads back to the minors without making his major league debut.

Astacio was to have been recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to start in place of the slumping Brandon Duckworth (0-1, 12.60 ERA), but the postponement means the Astros don't need him now. They are off Thursday, and Roger Clemens (1-0) opposes the Cubs' Greg Maddux in a matchup of 300-game winners Friday at Wrigley Field.

Because Tuesday's game was called about 45 minutes before the scheduled 7:05 p.m. start, Astros manager Phil Garner had yet to break the bad news to Astacio. No roster move was needed because Astacio would not have been officially recalled until Wednesday.

"We go forward as we are right now," said Garner, whose team has lost four in a row and is a major league-worst 1-9 on the road. "I'll talk to him (at the hotel), but we don't need to do anything."

Garner wasn't about to skip over Pettitte, who was 2-0 with an 0.82 ERA in two starts against Pittsburgh last season. Garner doesn't expect the extra day's rest to affect Pettitte.

"He'll be fine," Garner said.

The Pirates can only hope Wells also benefits. The right-hander has been one of their biggest disappointments so far, fighting his control while going 1-3 with a 6.46 ERA in four starts. He has walked 18 and allowed 22 hits in 23 2/3 innings.

"His command was not what it should be but, stuff-wise, he's been free and easy, throwing 94-95-96 (miles per hour) with good sink," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "He's been his own worst enemy, throwing too many pitches."

Wells threw an unusually high 36 pitches in the first inning Wednesday in Cincinnati, but managed to last five innings and earn the 4-2 victory. He gave up only three hits, but walked five.

The Pirates, 0-4-3 in their seven series to date, will go for their first series sweep of the season after beating Houston 2-0 Monday night behind left-hander Oliver Perez's 7 2/3 shutout innings.

Maybe Houston's poor road record influenced his thinking, but Garner didn't mind the game was called with no rain falling. Steady rain through early Wednesday morning was forecast, and both teams would wasted their starting pitchers had the game started only to be called off later.

"That's probably a fair call," Garner said. "When you've got a weather report that looks bad, it's probably a pretty good idea. Once in a while you get tricked, but it (a long rain delay) can make for a miserable night."

Pirates right-hander Josh Fogg (1-1) was to have started Wednesday but will now go Friday against the Giants -- five days later than scheduled. He was scheduled to start Sunday against the Cubs, but that start was pushed back because of an ear problem.

Pittsburgh will now play two extra games the week after the All-Star game. The Pirates will make up an April 22 postponement in Chicago on July 14, previously an off date for both teams.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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