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Pittsburgh at Houston

Scoreboard
Pittsburgh (30-53)000100010260
Houston (33-51) «20300010x6121

Astros 6, Pirates 2

CBSSports.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- Wandy Rodriguez insists he hasn't changed anything over his last few starts. He's just found his pointpoint location.

The 31-year-old left-hander struck out 10 and allowed four singles in seven innings and the Astros snapped a three-game losing streak with a 6-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday.

Rodriguez (6-10) has won his last three starts, the longest winning streak by an Astro this season. He's allowed only two earned runs in those starts for a 0.90 ERA.

"Nothing different," he said. "I try to throw the ball where I want, and I just throw my pitches. I'm the same. I've felt great the last three starts. When I have good command on my breaking ball and fastball, you can see a lot of games like this."

The Astros tabbed him as the No. 2 starter behind ace Roy Oswalt coming into the season, hoping he could improve on last year's 14-12 record. But Rodriguez lost four of his first five decisions and dropped six of seven between May and June before starting his current streak.

Carlos Lee and Lance Berkman homered and Michael Bourn scored two runs for the Astros, who've won all four meetings with the Pirates this season.

Rodriguez finished one strikeout shy of his career high, which he last reached almost exactly a year ago against Pittsburgh. He gave up two walks, both in the first inning, and reached double-digit strikeouts for the fifth time in his career.

"We knew that he had the ability to throw like that," manager Brad Mills said. "He threw like this several times last year. He's just built good start after good start after good start, and that's what we were looking for, to be able to put it all together."

The Astros staked Rodriguez to a 2-0 lead in the first inning off Pittsburgh starter Brad Lincoln (1-3), a rookie who played at the University of Houston.

Bourn, selected to the NL All-Star team by manager Charlie Manuel, led off with an infield single and stole second. He advanced on Jeff Keppinger's flyout and scored on Berkman's groundout.

Lee followed with a solo home run to left center, his 11th of the season.

Bourn singled and scored again in the third, rounding the bases on Keppinger's double off the left-field scoreboard. Berkman then homered into the left-field balcony, just inside the foul pole, for a 5-0 lead.

Lincoln allowed five runs on seven hits in his sixth career major-league start. He played in front of about 200 friends and family, but said that added pressure didn't affect his performance.

"I wasn't really that emotional," Lincoln said. "I had some butterflies in the first inning, but I just couldn't get comfortable out there, couldn't find the strike zone with my fastball."

Rodriguez, meanwhile, retired eight hitters in a row -- three on strikeouts -- after the two walks in the first inning.

Andrew McCutchen led off the fourth with a single, Pittsburgh's first hit. McCutchen eventually scored on Ryan Doumit's single to left. Rodriguez escaped a one-out, bases-loaded jam later in the inning, getting Bobby Crosby to pop up before striking out Lincoln.

Rodriguez was sharp again in the sixth, striking out Pedro Alvarez and Doumit. He fanned Crosby and pinch hitter Andy LaRoche in the seventh to set a new season high.

"He's been throwing the ball well, throwing the ball with confidence," Mills said. "It's just being able to put into play and bringing to the game what they've been working on, and then he's been able to build some confidence with that."

The Astros added another run in the seventh off Javier Lopez. Garrett Jones drove in a run with a single in the eighth against left-hander Tim Byrdak.

Houston third baseman Chris Johnson made a diving catch to rob Lastings Milledge of a hit in the ninth.

Notes

Rodriguez has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 11 of 17 starts. ... Astros general manager Ed Wade said IF Geoff Blum will undergo arthroscopic elbow surgery on Wednesday. Blum said he felt his elbow pop while putting on his shirt following Thursday night's game in San Diego. ... Pirates 1B Steve Pearce will get an injection on Wednesday for the tendinitis in his left knee. Pearce has been on the disabled list since late May. The Pirates say Pearce will be inactive for 7-10 days after the injection, and is not expected to play again until August. General manager Neal Huntington said the injection was the best option to treat the injury, but surgery remains a possibility.

 
Copyright 2014 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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Players of the Game
Houston

C. Lee
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
Houston

W. Rodriguez
IP 7.0
H 4
ER 1
BB 2
K 10
 
Pittsburgh Pirates
Jose Tabata, LF4000011 .235
Neil Walker, 2B3110110 .295
Andrew McCutchen, CF3110111 .295
Garrett Jones, 1B4011003 .275
Pedro Alvarez, 3B4010023 .212
Ryan Doumit, C4011011 .257
Lastings Milledge, RF4010000 .267
Bobby Crosby, SS3000024 .239
   a- Delwyn Young, PH1000000 .232
Brad Lincoln, P2000023 .300
    D.J. Carrasco, P0000000 .000
   b- Andy LaRoche, PH1000011 .231
    Javier Lopez, P0000000 .000
    Brendan Donnelly, P0000000 .000
   c- Ryan Church, PH1000010 .192
Totals34262212  
a-grounded out for Crosby in the 9th
b-struck out for Carrasco in the 7th
c-struck out for Donnelly in the 9th
Batting
2B - Neil Walker (9, Lopez)
RBI - Garrett Jones (51), Ryan Doumit (29)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Walker-Crosby-G. Jones
Pittsburgh Pirates
Brad Lincoln (L,1-3) 5755102 5.25
D.J. Carrasco 1200010 3.80
Javier Lopez 1311000 2.87
Brendan Donnelly 1000120 5.61
Pitches-Strikes - Brad Lincoln 86-53, D.J. Carrasco 17-12, Javier Lopez 18-13, Brendan Donnelly 14-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brad Lincoln 8-7, D.J. Carrasco 1-1, Javier Lopez 2-0
Batters Faced - Brad Lincoln 23, D.J. Carrasco 5, Javier Lopez 5, Brendan Donnelly 4
Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF5220014 .262
Jeff Keppinger, 2B4131001 .285
Lance Berkman, 1B4113002 .243
Carlos Lee, LF4221001 .235
    Wilton Lopez, P0000000 .000
    Tim Byrdak, P0000000 .000
    Chris Sampson, P0000000 .000
Hunter Pence, RF4021001 .257
Chris Johnson, 3B4000012 .333
Jason Castro, C3010100 .194
Angel Sanchez, SS4000011 .071
Wandy Rodriguez, P3010001 .250
    Jason Michaels, LF0000100 .247
Totals35612623  
Batting
2B - Jeff Keppinger (22, Lincoln), Hunter Pence (14, Lopez)
HR - Lance Berkman (9, Lincoln), Carlos Lee (11, Lincoln)
RBI - Jeff Keppinger (29), Lance Berkman 3 (40), Carlos Lee (42), Hunter Pence (38)
2-OUT RBI - Carlos Lee (20), Hunter Pence (21)
SB - Michael Bourn (26, 2nd base off Lincoln/Doumit)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
E - Angel Sanchez (1, Throwing)
Houston Astros
Wandy Rodriguez (W,6-10) 74112100 5.00
Wilton Lopez 0.1111010 4.09
Tim Byrdak 0.2100000 4.87
Chris Sampson 1000010 5.76
WP - Wandy Rodriguez (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Wandy Rodriguez 107-72, Wilton Lopez 9-5, Tim Byrdak 18-14, Chris Sampson 9-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wandy Rodriguez 5-7, Tim Byrdak 1-1, Chris Sampson 1-1
Batters Faced - Wandy Rodriguez 28, Wilton Lopez 2, Tim Byrdak 3, Chris Sampson 3
Game Information
Attendance - 23210
Game Time - 2:42
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Jeff Kellogg, First Base - Jeff Nelson, Second Base - Mark Carlson, Third Base - Larry Vanover