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Houston at Pittsburgh

Final 15th
W: C. Sampson (1-0) L: J. Bayliss (1-1)
S: T. Miller (1)
HR: HOU - L. Berkman (44)   PIT - R. Doumit (6)

Ausmus, 'Stros pull off comeback in 15th inning

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

PITTSBURGH -- Once the Houston Astros got into the 11th inning, the 12th, the 13th and later, they didn't need anyone to tell them they had to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates. They already knew it from the out-of-town scoreboard that showed the St. Louis Cardinals winning.

Brad Ausmus' sacrifice fly in the 15th inning finished off Houston's comeback within a comeback as the Astros rallied from five runs down to beat the Pirates 7-6 on Wednesday night, their eighth straight win that kept them close to St. Louis in the NL Central.

"I've complained all year about not being able to get a run in from third, so I'm going to kiss his lunch for getting that one in," manager Phil Garner said of Ausmus' game-winner.

The Astros didn't gain any ground for the first time during their winning streak but, almost as importantly, didn't lose any as they stayed 1½ games out with four to play. The Cardinals cut their magic number for winning the division to four by beating San Diego 4-2 on Albert Pujols' homer to end a seven-game losing streak.

"I'm sure everybody saw that, so I've got to applaud these guys for a great effort and getting results," Garner said. "We have to plan to win 'em all and still it may be not enough, but the bottom line is everybody is still playing."

He was right -- most of the Astros knew the Cardinals had won, yet the tired team persevered to win its fourth game in four nights in three ballparks. They finished off a four-game sweep of the Cardinals at home Sunday night, then won a makeup game Monday night in Philadelphia before winning the first two of a three-game series in Pittsburgh.

"Seeing the Cardinals win makes it even more crucial for us going into extra innings, and understanding we move to 2½ out with only four games left for us if we lose," Ausmus said. "Obviously it was a crucial win."

Houston, held to one hit over the first five extra innings by three rookie relievers, finally won it against Jonah Bayliss (1-1) in the 15th. After Eric Bruntlett walked and Craig Biggio's sacrifice bunt turned into a fielder's choice, Orlando Palmeiro singled to center. Ausmus then fought off a two-strike pitch to lift the fly to center that scored Biggio.

"We had chances to win, but they finally scratched out the run we had been working to get," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. "But our young relievers, to do the job they did, pitching against a club playing for its playoff life ... they really grew up tonight."

Chris Sampson (2-0), the Astros' starter Monday night in Philadelphia, pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings to win it and run the Pirates' losing streak -- all against contenders -- to six. Trever Miller got the final out for the save, his first since 2004 with Tampa Bay.

The Pirates had a chance to win it in the 11th. Chris Duffy walked and stole second and, after an out, Freddy Sanchez and Jason Bay were intentionally walked with two outs to load the bases. Dan Wheeler, working his third inning, then got Xavier Nady on a slow roller to third.

In the 12th, Duffy flied out to left to leave the potential winning run on third. Miller later struck out Duffy to end the game.

Sanchez, the NL batting leader with a .346 average, went 2-for-5 with an RBI. He has six hits in two games. Nady's two-run single keyed a three-run fifth that gave the Pirates a 6-1 lead.

The Astros, trying to stage one of the greatest late-season surges in major league history after being 8½ games out on Sept. 20, then rallied to keep that comeback going. They scored four runs in the sixth on Lance Berkman's 44th homer, a two-run drive, Mike Lamb's RBI double and Adam Everett's sacrifice fly, then tied it on Luke Scott's two-out single off Salomon Torres in the ninth.

Willy Taveras reached on an infield single with one out and moved into scoring position when Berkman was intentionally walked ahead of Scott's single.

"We've got to win -- we could care less about anything except getting wins right now," Biggio said. "It took us a long time, but we got it and that's all that matters."

Torres, making his major league-leading 92nd appearance, had been 10-for-10 in save opportunities since replacing the injured Mike Gonzalez (24-for-24) as the Pirates closer. Torres is 10-of-13 overall.

The Pirates took a 2-0 lead against starter Jason Hirsh on Sanchez's RBI single in the first and Ryan Doumit's sixth homer, a solo shot to right with one out in the second. Hirsh couldn't make it out of the fourth after allowing three runs and six hits.


  • Pittsburgh is two losses short of matching the 95 it had last season.
  • Duffy, the center fielder, also may have prevented a run when he stretched out on the dirt warning track to run down Lamb's deep fly ball with a runner on second and one out in the seventh.
  • The Pirates have had 24 NL batting champions, the most of any team. Honus Wagner won eight and Clemente won four. Bill Madlock won the last two, in 1981 and 1983.
  • The teams played an 18-inning game in PNC Park on May 27, with the Pirates winning 8-7.
  • After the game, official scorer Tony Krizmanich changed an error given pitcher Dan Borkowski on Jack Wilson's slow-rolling grounder in the three-run fifth to a single.
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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The Bucs' Freddy Sanchez leads the NL with his .346 batting average, and has six hits in two games.  (AP)
The Bucs' Freddy Sanchez leads the NL with his .346 batting average, and has six hits in two games. (AP)

Players of the Game

L. Berkman
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1

C. Duffy
AB 6
R 2
H 2
HR 0

Related Video

Houston Astros
Willy Taveras, CF5220110 .279
Mike Lamb, 3B6112011 .308
Lance Berkman, 1B4122301 .317
Luke Scott, LF5011013 .357
    Dan Wheeler, P0000000 .000
   a- Hector Gimenez, PH1000000 .000
    Fernando Nieve, P0000000 .125
    Chris Sampson, P1000001 .000
    Trever Miller, P0000000 .000
Aubrey Huff, RF3120000 .267
    Eric Bruntlett, PR-SS2010102 .280
Craig Biggio, 2B6110013 .245
Adam Everett, SS2001010 .238
   b- Orlando Palmeiro, PH-RF4010021 .250
Humberto Quintero, C3110011 .389
   c- Chris Burke, PH1000001 .272
    Brad Ausmus, C2001000 .228
Jason Hirsh, P0000000 .000
    Russ Springer, P0000000 .000
   d- Charlton Jimerson, PH1000010 .333
    Dave Borkowski, P0000000 .000
    Chad Qualls, P0000000 .000
   e- Morgan Ensberg, PH0000100 .236
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
   f- Jason Lane, PH-LF4000021 .203
a-grounded out for Wheeler in the 12th
b-struck out for Everett in the 8th
c-flied out for Quintero in the 8th
d-struck out for Springer in the 5th
e-walked for Qualls in the 7th
f-struck out for Lidge in the 9th
2B - Mike Lamb (22, Chacon)
HR - Lance Berkman (44, Chacon)
SF - Mike Lamb (5), Adam Everett (4), Brad Ausmus (3)
SH - Willy Taveras (11), Craig Biggio (5), Jason Hirsh (2)
RBI - Mike Lamb 2 (45), Lance Berkman 2 (133), Luke Scott (37), Adam Everett (58), Brad Ausmus (39)
2-OUT RBI - Luke Scott (18)
Team LOB - 11
DP - Lamb-Berkman, Everett-Biggio-Berkman, Everett-Biggio-Berkman, Biggio-Bruntlett-Berkman
E - Aubrey Huff (7, Throwing), Mike Lamb (10, Misplayed grounder)
Houston Astros
Jason Hirsh 3633111 6.04
Russ Springer 1000000 3.53
Dave Borkowski 1.1432410 4.69
Chad Qualls 0.2000000 3.83
Brad Lidge 2100030 5.35
Dan Wheeler 3000310 2.41
Fernando Nieve 1100110 4.09
Chris Sampson (W,2-0) 2.2100010 2.10
Trever Miller (S,1) 0.1000010 2.96
IBB - Bay by Dave Borkowski, by F. Sanchez, F. Sanchez by Dan Wheeler, by Bay
Pitches-Strikes - Jason Hirsh 51-31, Russ Springer 3-2, Dave Borkowski 38-15, Chad Qualls 3-3, Brad Lidge 25-16, Dan Wheeler 46-24, Fernando Nieve 22-15, Chris Sampson 27-19, Trever Miller 6-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jason Hirsh 4-4, Russ Springer 1-1, Dave Borkowski 2-1, Chad Qualls 1-0, Brad Lidge 2-1, Dan Wheeler 3-5, Chris Sampson 4-2
Batters Faced - Jason Hirsh 16, Russ Springer 2, Dave Borkowski 12, Chad Qualls 1, Brad Lidge 7, Dan Wheeler 12, Fernando Nieve 5, Chris Sampson 8, Trever Miller 1
Pittsburgh Pirates
Chris Duffy, CF6220222 .252
Jack Wilson, SS7230012 .271
Freddy Sanchez, 2B-3B5021201 .346
Jason Bay, LF5111221 .284
Xavier Nady, RF-1B7022005 .276
Ronny Paulino, C7010001 .311
Ryan Doumit, 1B2111211 .216
    Matt Capps, P0000000 .000
    Salomon Torres, P0000000 .200
    Brian Rogers, P0000000 .000
   a- Jeromy Burnitz, PH1000000 .230
    Shane Youman, P0000000 .600
   b- Jose Castillo, PH-2B2000011 .254
Jose Bautista, 3B-RF6000124 .238
Shawn Chacon, P2000001 .067
    Josh Sharpless, P0000000 .000
   c- Rajai Davis, PH1000000 .154
    John Grabow, P0000000 .000
    Joe Randa, 1B3010000 .260
    Jonah Bayliss, P0000000 .000
   d- Humberto Cota, PH1000000 .190
a-flied out for Rogers in the 10th
b-struck out for Youman in the 12th
c-grounded out for Sharpless in the 6th
d-grounded out for Bayliss in the 15th
2B - Chris Duffy 2 (12, Hirsh, Borkowski), Jack Wilson (25, Borkowski), Freddy Sanchez (53, Hirsh)
HR - Ryan Doumit (6, Hirsh)
RBI - Freddy Sanchez (85), Jason Bay (109), Xavier Nady 2 (62), Ryan Doumit (17)
SB - Chris Duffy 2 (26, 3rd base off Hirsh/Quintero, 2nd base off Wheeler/Ausmus)
Team LOB - 13
DP - J. Wilson-Doumit
Pittsburgh Pirates
Shawn Chacon 5.1655151 6.36
Josh Sharpless (H,2) 0.2100000 1.64
John Grabow (H,11) 1100200 4.17
Matt Capps (H,12) 1000010 3.87
Salomon Torres (BS,3) 1211110 3.35
Brian Rogers 1000010 9.00
Shane Youman 2100000 4.30
Jonah Bayliss (L,1-1) 3111230 4.30
IBB - Berkman by John Grabow, Berkman by Salomon Torres, Berkman by Jonah Bayliss
HBP - Huff (by Shawn Chacon)
WP - Josh Sharpless (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Shawn Chacon 82-56, Josh Sharpless 11-5, John Grabow 23-12, Matt Capps 9-6, Salomon Torres 28-17, Brian Rogers 12-7, Shane Youman 32-19, Jonah Bayliss 45-29
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Shawn Chacon 5-5, John Grabow 1-2, Matt Capps 1-1, Salomon Torres 2-0, Brian Rogers 2-0, Shane Youman 4-2, Jonah Bayliss 4-2
Batters Faced - Shawn Chacon 23, Josh Sharpless 3, John Grabow 6, Matt Capps 3, Salomon Torres 6, Brian Rogers 3, Shane Youman 7, Jonah Bayliss 12
Game Information
Attendance - 16352
Game Time - 4:50
Temperature - 67
Umpires - Home - Jim Joyce, First Base - Paul Schrieber, Second Base - Doug Eddings, Third Base - Dana DeMuth