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Rookie Buchholz, Lidge combine on two-hit shutout

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

HOUSTON -- Taylor Buchholz was so happy about his first major league win that he quickly forgave the teammate who might have kept him from finishing a shutout.

Buchholz came within one out of a one-hitter Saturday night in the Houston Astros' 3-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

There were two outs in the ninth when Chris Duffy reached on an error by second baseman Eric Bruntlett. Jack Wilson followed with a single, and Buchholz was lifted for All-Star closer Brad Lidge after 104 pitches.

"I feel bad that I took that away from him," Bruntlett said. "I went and found him and asked him if he could forgive me."

Buchholz's response?

"No problem," he said. "I know he's a great infielder and he won't usually make a mistake like that."

The 24-year-old rookie allowed only singles by Jeromy Burnitz in the fifth inning and Wilson in the ninth. He struck out five and walked none in his second career start and fourth appearance.

Buchholz said the win exceeded any visions he had of how he would get his first win.

"I never would have expected (it) to be a two-hitter," he said. "But it's definitely a great feeling to get that out of the way. I'm on a high right now. I'm not going to lie, it's a great feeling."

Craig Biggio hit a solo homer off lefty John Grabow in the seventh inning and scored all three runs.

Buchholz (1-1) retired his first nine batters before hitting Duffy on the foot with a pitch in the fourth. But Wilson grounded into a double play, and the right-hander kept cruising along.

With Buchholz bouncing in the dugout as he watched, Lidge struck out Jason Bay on a 3-2 pitch for his seventh save in seven tries.

Lidge talked about his troubles with Bay, who homered against him last season.

"I didn't want to pitch in this game," Lidge said. "I wasn't expecting to. I felt a little emotion because Taylor had thrown such a great game and I wanted to make sure I left everything out there against Bay tonight. Fortunately I was able to get him."

Astros manager Phil Garner said he didn't consider leaving Buchholz in with two runners on base.

"He had pitched too good of a game to have it slip away," Garner said. "So give it to the guy that's supposed to finish the game out. He'll have a whole bunch more opportunities to finish those kind of games out."

Morgan Ensberg had an RBI single in the first and Lance Berkman added a sacrifice fly in the fifth after Biggio hit his 611th career double. Biggio went 3-for-5, his fourth three-hit performance in the last five games.

Ensberg's franchise-record streak of six straight games with a home run ended as he went 1-for-2 with two walks.

Pirates starter Ian Snell (0-2) allowed six hits and two runs with four strikeouts in six innings, giving him his first quality start. It was a much better outing than his last game, when he gave up six runs and six hits in five innings of a 7-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

"It was a big game for me," Snell said. "Just to show myself that I can be here, pitch to big league hitters, get them out and throw my fastball and other pitches."

Pirates manager Jim Tracy said Snell would have lasted longer, but he was forced to take him out because of a cramp in his calf.

"It was the best Snell has done," Tracy said. "I'm beginning to see some progress from him. He threw enough breaking balls for strikes. He had much better command of his fastball tonight."

Astros left fielder Preston Wilson remained in a batting slump, going 0-for-4. But he made a diving catch on Craig Wilson line drive in the eighth inning.

Notes

  • The win puts the Astros over .500 with an all-time record of 3,509-3,508.
  • Snell's only major league win came last season when he allowed three hits in eight innings of a 7-0 win over Roger Clemens and the Astros.
  • Snell does not have a major league hit. He went 0-for-2, which puts his career numbers at 0-for-14 with three sacrifice bunts.
  • Bay's streak of reaching base safely in 16 straight games ended as he went 0-for-4.
 
Copyright 2015 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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Taylor Buchholz doesn't just win his first MLB game. He comes within an out of a two-hit shutout.  (AP)
Taylor Buchholz doesn't just win his first MLB game. He comes within an out of a two-hit shutout. (AP)

Players of the Game
Houston

T. Buchholz
IP 8.2
H 2
ER 0
BB 0
K 5
Houston

C. Biggio
AB 5
R 3
H 3
HR 1
RBI 1
 

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Pittsburgh Pirates
Chris Duffy, CF3000000 .183
Jack Wilson, SS4010011 .328
Jason Bay, LF4000022 .295
Jeromy Burnitz, RF3010000 .236
Craig Wilson, 1B3000001 .314
Joe Randa, 3B3000001 .231
Jose Castillo, 2B3000011 .271
Ronny Paulino, C2000000 .300
   a- Freddy Sanchez, PH1000000 .306
Ian Snell, P2000010 .000
    John Grabow, P0000000 .000
    Salomon Torres, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Vogelsong, P0000000 .000
   b- Nate McLouth, PH1000010 .281
Totals29020066 
a-grounded out for Paulino in the 9th
b-struck out for Vogelsong in the 9th
Fielding
DP - J. Wilson-Castillo-C. Wilson, Torres-J. Wilson-C. Wilson
E - Jose Castillo (1, Misplayed grounder)
Pittsburgh Pirates
Ian Snell 6622240 7.71
John Grabow (L,0-1) 0.1311001 6.48
Salomon Torres 0.2000100 3.00
Ryan Vogelsong 1000100 9.35
HBP - Ausmus (by Ryan Vogelsong)
Pitches-Strikes - Ian Snell 94-61, John Grabow 17-13, Salomon Torres 8-3, Ryan Vogelsong 13-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ian Snell 7-7, John Grabow 1-0, Salomon Torres 1-0, Ryan Vogelsong 1-2
Batters Faced - Ian Snell 26, John Grabow 4, Salomon Torres 2, Ryan Vogelsong 5
Houston Astros
Craig Biggio, 2B5331002 .323
    Eric Bruntlett, 2B0000000 .429
Willy Taveras, CF4030000 .310
Lance Berkman, 1B3021001 .359
Morgan Ensberg, 3B2011211 .414
Preston Wilson, LF4000014 .212
Jason Lane, RF2000210 .190
Brad Ausmus, C3000000 .308
Adam Everett, SS4000004 .293
Taylor Buchholz, P4000013 .000
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
Totals313934415 
Batting
2B - Craig Biggio (7, Snell)
HR - Craig Biggio (2, Grabow)
SF - Lance Berkman (3)
RBI - Craig Biggio (9), Lance Berkman (19), Morgan Ensberg (17)
2-OUT RBI - Morgan Ensberg (12)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Biggio-Everett-Berkman
E - Eric Bruntlett (1, Misplayed grounder)
Houston Astros
Taylor Buchholz (W,1-1) 8.2200050 1.80
Brad Lidge (S,7) 0.1000010 3.60
HBP - Duffy (by Taylor Buchholz)
Pitches-Strikes - Taylor Buchholz 104-75, Brad Lidge 6-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Taylor Buchholz 8-13
Batters Faced - Taylor Buchholz 29, Brad Lidge 1
Game Information
Attendance - 38575
Game Time - 2:31
Temperature - 84
Umpires - Home - Tim Tschida, First Base - Ted Barrett, Second Base - Laz Diaz, Third Base - Rick Reed