Houston at Pittsburgh

W: I. Snell (4-3) L: T. Buchholz (3-4)
HR: HOU - M. Ensberg (17), M. Lamb (3)   PIT - J. Castillo (3), J. Bay (14), C. Wilson (9)

Pirates 12, Astros 5

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

PITTSBURGH -- After watching this catcher, and the rest of the Pittsburgh Pirates' unusually productive lineup, it was Houston Astros manager Phil Garner who probably felt like crying.

Jason Bay homered for the fourth consecutive game and drove in four runs, and the Pirates had a season-high 16 hits in beating Houston 12-5 Friday night, the Astros' fourth consecutive loss.

Pirates rookie Ronny Paulino, enjoying a much better game than the opposing catcher did against the Astros the day before, had his first four-hit game in the majors. Craig Wilson and Jose Castillo also homered during a three-homer fourth inning against Taylor Buchholz (3-4), who shut out the Pirates for 8 2/3 innings the last time he opposed them.

"We made mistakes tonight, and they absolutely pounded them," Garner said of his defending NL champions, losers of eight of 11 overall and 10 of 12 on the road. "That's been a problem the last few series, we haven't been able to get the ball where we wanted to. ... It's a mystery because we're better than that, but we're in a rotten rut right now."

The Astros lost 8-5 Thursday in Washington, despite stealing seven bases -- forcing Nationals manager Frank Robinson to pull backup catcher Matthew LeCroy in the middle of an inning. Afterward, Robinson got teary-eyed explaining why he had to yank his catcher.

On Friday night, the Astros never could get the opposing catcher out.

Paulino wasn't on the Pirates' season-opening roster and wasn't expected to make an impact this season, but has won the everyday job by playing well defensively and batting .310. He doubled in the Pirates' first run in the second, then had three consecutive singles.

"I felt good at the plate," Paulino said. "My primary job is to work with the pitcher, but I know I can hit."

So can Bay, who got off to a relatively slow start - he was hitting .250 on May 3 -- but has 25 RBI in 13 games and has jumped his average to .304.

Bay had a run-scoring single in the third as the Pirates began to rally from a 4-1 deficit, then followed with a three-run drive in the seven-run fourth that put the Pirates up 8-4. Bay has eight homers in 32 at-bats in eight games, including two two-homer games, and is the first Pirate to homer in four consecutive game since Barry Bonds from Aug. 18-21, 1987.

"This is the first time this has happened to me at any level," Bay said. "It's getting a little surreal. I'm starting to pinch myself. You always want to manage the cold streaks and ride the hot streaks, and hopefully this one will last a while."

The Pirates had lost six of seven and were coming off yet another terrible road trip -- they are 4-22 away from PNC Park -- but they didn't look like a team off to its worst start (15-33) in 52 years. Or one that is 4-14 in one-run games.

Buchholz, who grew up near Philadelphia and had plenty of family members in the stands, was coming off a career-first 5-0 shutout of the Texas Rangers on Sunday but quickly gave away a three-run lead supplied by Morgan Ensberg's 17th homer.

Jeromy Burnitz doubled ahead of Castillo's third homer, tying it at 4, and Freddy Sanchez had a run-scoring grounder before Bay hit his 14th homer. Wilson followed Bay's drive with his ninth homer, bringing on reliever Mike Gallo.

Buchholz, who got his first career victory against Pittsburgh on April 22, saw his ERA climb from 4.35 to 5.57. He gave up 11 hits and nine runs in 3 2/3 innings.

"I got behind a bunch of guys and left same fat pitches right over the middle and they hit them pretty good," Buchholz said. "It's part of being a rookie, you take your ups and downs."

All those runs allowed Pirates starter Ian Snell (4-3) to last 5 2/3 innings, despite giving up 10 hits and five runs. He has won four of his last five decisions despite lasting fewer than six innings four times.


  • The Astros had won their last six against Pittsburgh.
  • They are 7-15 away from Houston.
  • Pirates 1B Sean Casey went 0-for-3 during the first game of a rehabilitation assignment at Double-A Altoona. He hadn't played since breaking two bones in his back April 14.
  • The Pirates had 15 hits in a game twice this season.
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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Jason Bay homers for the fourth consecutive game, this one coming off Taylor Buchholz.  (AP)
Jason Bay homers for the fourth consecutive game, this one coming off Taylor Buchholz. (AP)

Players of the Game

J. Bay
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1

M. Lamb
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 1

Related Video

May 23, 2017
MLB Power Rankings (5/23) (1:51)
Houston Astros
Willy Taveras, CF4130100 .282
Craig Biggio, 2B5000023 .287
Chris Burke, LF4100100 .318
Morgan Ensberg, 3B3112210 .273
Mike Lamb, 1B5231002 .344
Preston Wilson, RF4030011 .265
Brad Ausmus, C4011014 .313
Adam Everett, SS4000012 .215
Taylor Buchholz, P2000012 .000
    Mike Gallo, P0000000 .000
   a- Eric Bruntlett, PH1000010 .289
    Dave Borkowski, P0000000 .000
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
   b- Orlando Palmeiro, PH1000010 .200
    Dan Wheeler, P0000000 .000
a-struck out for Gallo in the 6th
b-struck out for Lidge in the 8th
HR - Morgan Ensberg (17, Snell), Mike Lamb (3, Snell)
RBI - Morgan Ensberg 2 (35), Mike Lamb (7), Brad Ausmus (12)
2-OUT RBI - Mike Lamb (6)
SB - Willy Taveras (7, 3rd base off Snell/Paulino)
CS - Willy Taveras (4, 2nd base by Snell/Paulino)
Team LOB - 9
DP - Biggio-Everett-Lamb
Houston Astros
Taylor Buchholz (L,3-4) 3.21199153 5.57
Mike Gallo 1.1200010 5.02
Dave Borkowski 1333220 4.43
Brad Lidge 1000020 6.23
Dan Wheeler 1000020 5.12
IBB - Bay by Dave Borkowski, by Burnitz
Pitches-Strikes - Taylor Buchholz 85-49, Mike Gallo 14-12, Dave Borkowski 30-16, Brad Lidge 12-9, Dan Wheeler 8-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Taylor Buchholz 5-1, Mike Gallo 1-1, Dave Borkowski 1-0, Brad Lidge 1-0, Dan Wheeler 1-0
Batters Faced - Taylor Buchholz 23, Mike Gallo 5, Dave Borkowski 8, Brad Lidge 3, Dan Wheeler 3
Pittsburgh Pirates
Nate McLouth, CF4210111 .248
Jack Wilson, SS5120011 .295
Freddy Sanchez, 3B5111011 .336
Jason Bay, LF4224111 .304
Craig Wilson, 1B5222021 .277
Jeromy Burnitz, RF4230110 .229
Jose Castillo, 2B4112025 .288
Ronny Paulino, C4143000 .310
Ian Snell, P2000022 .000
    Salomon Torres, P1000012 .000
    Roberto Hernandez, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Vogelsong, P0000000 .500
2B - Nate McLouth (7, Buchholz), Craig Wilson (7, Borkowski), Jeromy Burnitz (7, Buchholz), Ronny Paulino (6, Buchholz)
HR - Jason Bay (14, Buchholz), Craig Wilson (9, Buchholz), Jose Castillo (3, Buchholz)
SH - Ian Snell (3)
RBI - Freddy Sanchez (24), Jason Bay 4 (39), Craig Wilson 2 (24), Jose Castillo 2 (15), Ronny Paulino 3 (8)
2-OUT RBI - Jason Bay 4 (19), Craig Wilson (8), Ronny Paulino 3 (7)
SB - Jeromy Burnitz (1, 2nd base off Buchholz/Ausmus)
Team LOB - 6
E - Jose Castillo (7, missed catch)
Pittsburgh Pirates
Ian Snell (W,4-3) 5.21055272 5.98
Salomon Torres 1.1100100 5.17
Roberto Hernandez 1000010 1.77
Ryan Vogelsong 1000110 4.70
WP - Ian Snell (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Ian Snell 95-64, Salomon Torres 24-13, Roberto Hernandez 9-7, Ryan Vogelsong 17-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ian Snell 4-5, Salomon Torres 3-1, Roberto Hernandez 1-1
Batters Faced - Ian Snell 28, Salomon Torres 6, Roberto Hernandez 3, Ryan Vogelsong 4
Game Information
Attendance - 29247
Game Time - 3:03
Temperature - 68
Umpires - Home - Marty Foster, First Base - Field Culbreth, Second Base - Bill Welke, Third Base - Tim McClelland