Pittsburgh at Houston

W: M. Hampton (5-5) L: V. Vasquez (1-2)
S: J. Valverde (7)
HR: PIT - None   HOU - None

Astros 4, Pirates 1

CBSSports.com wire reports

HOUSTON -- The Pittsburgh Pirates held a special hitters meeting before Monday night's game to talk about how to handle Houston's Mike Hampton.

It didn't appear to do much good.

Hampton pitched seven solid innings and the Astros received two RBI each from Miguel Tejada and Geoff Blum in a 4-1 victory over the Pirates.

Hampton (5-5) yielded one run and three hits to improve to 14-3 with a 2.20 ERA in 20 career starts against Pittsburgh dating to 1995. He has won 10 consecutive starts against the Pirates.

"There were just a few things that Donny [hitting coach Don Long] talked to the team about," Pirates manager John Russell said. "And I thought we followed through. We made him throw more pitches, but we still hit ground balls. We hit them right at people ... he's tough. I thought we had some opportunities, but we just couldn't get it done."

Hampton couldn't explain why he's been so dominant against the Pirates, and was reluctant to say much more about his success.

"I don't want to really talk too much about it," he said with a grin. "I just hope it continues."

Garrett Jones doubled in the seventh and scored on Robinzon Diaz's single for Pittsburgh's only run.

Blum hit a two-run triple in the first and Tejada's two-run double in the fifth extended Houston's lead to 4-0. LaTroy Hawkins worked the eighth and Jose Valverde recorded three outs for his seventh save.

Virgil Vasquez (1-2) went six innings in his third start of the season for Pittsburgh, allowing four runs and seven hits. The 27-year-old right-hander, who was called up from Triple-A Indianapolis on June 26, walked three and struck out two.

"I just needed to be better," Vasquez said. "I needed to go out there and put up a quick zero, get relaxed, but instead we were battling."

Hampton walked the first two batters he faced, but made a nifty defensive play to escape the threat. He caught Delwyn Young's liner back up the middle despite losing his balance and having to steady himself by placing a hand on the dirt behind him.

He got to his feet in time to double Jack Wilson off first and Jones grounded out to end the inning.

"He made a great play on that line drive," Astros manager Cecil Cooper said. "Not many people would have made that play."

Hampton said the play was a "wake-up call" and helped him get on track after a rocky start.

"It was huge," he said. "That's a hit and a run and then probably we're looking at first and third with no outs and a run in. So it's just a big play. I was fortunate to get out of there."

Tejada went 2 for 4 with two doubles one day after he made the NL roster for next week's All-Star Game.

Jones tried to make a leaping catch on Blum's drive in the first inning but it bounced off him before he bumped into the right-field wall. Jones scrambled to his feet but struggled to find the ball, which rolled into the corner.

Umpires reviewed the play to determine if Blum's drive was a home run, but their initial ruling stood.


Pittsburgh 2B Freddy Sanchez missed his fourth consecutive start with back spasms and is listed as day to day. Russell said he did not take any swings when the team took early batting practice. ... Pirates C Ryan Doumit, on the disabled list with a wrist injury, was 0 for 2 and caught five innings for Indianapolis on Sunday.

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.
Players of the Game

M. Hampton
IP 7.0
H 3
ER 1
BB 3
K 3

M. Tejada
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0

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Steve Pearce, 1B3000031 .091
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2B - Garrett Jones (2, Hampton)
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Virgil Vasquez (L,1-2) 6744320 4.50
Jesse Chavez 1100100 3.22
Evan Meek 1000130 2.84
IBB - Berkman by Jesse Chavez
Pitches-Strikes - Virgil Vasquez 97-59, Jesse Chavez 14-7, Evan Meek 21-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Virgil Vasquez 6-8, Jesse Chavez 1-2
Batters Faced - Virgil Vasquez 26, Jesse Chavez 5, Evan Meek 4
Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF4110011 .286
Miguel Tejada, SS4122001 .328
Lance Berkman, 1B2110201 .270
Carlos Lee, LF4010005 .295
Geoff Blum, 3B3012112 .267
Hunter Pence, RF4010012 .302
Kazuo Matsui, 2B3000111 .228
Humberto Quintero, C4000012 .239
Mike Hampton, P1100100 .346
   a- Darin Erstad, PH1010000 .167
    LaTroy Hawkins, P0000000 .000
    Jose Valverde, P0000000 .000
a-tripled for Hampton in the 7th
2B - Miguel Tejada 2 (28, Vasquez, Vasquez)
3B - Geoff Blum (1, Vasquez), Darin Erstad (2, J. Chavez)
RBI - Miguel Tejada 2 (45), Geoff Blum 2 (26)
2-OUT RBI - Geoff Blum 2 (8)
Team LOB - 7
Outfield Assists - Hunter Pence 1
DP - Hampton-Berkman, Matsui-Tejada-Berkman
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Houston Astros
Mike Hampton (W,5-5) 7311330 4.16
LaTroy Hawkins (H,8) 1000000 2.41
Jose Valverde (S,7) 1100030 3.86
Pitches-Strikes - Mike Hampton 98-57, LaTroy Hawkins 9-6, Jose Valverde 18-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Hampton 11-5, LaTroy Hawkins 3-0
Batters Faced - Mike Hampton 25, LaTroy Hawkins 3, Jose Valverde 4
Game Information
Attendance - 26834
Game Time - 2:38
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Mike Everitt, First Base - Brian Gorman, Second Base - Gerry Davis, Third Base - C.B. Bucknor