Pittsburgh at Houston

W: J. Karstens (4-4) L: B. Norris (4-5)
S: J. Hanrahan (18)
HR: PIT - None   HOU - None

Pirates 1, Astros 0

CBSSports.com wire reports

HOUSTON -- Jeff Karstens' left knee bothered him throughout the game, and it didn't matter one bit. He was just that good.

Karstens pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning and five relievers finished the four-hitter, leading the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 1-0 victory against the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

More on Pirates at Astros
Related links
Fantasy videos

Updating MLB news | Follow on Twitter

"I've just been attacking the zone, throwing lots of strikes, not trying to walk guys, make guys earn their way on and I've just kind of benefited from that," Karstens said.

Garrett Jones drove in the game's only run with a single to right field in the second inning.

Karstens (4-4) struck out three and walked none in 6 2/3 innings. The right-hander is 1-0 with a sparkling 0.44 ERA in three starts in June and is working on a scoreless streak of 14 2-3 innings.

"I just kind of felt it in the fourth, then felt a little more in the sixth and then couldn't really finish, I guess," he said of his knee. "[Manager] Clint [Hurdle] said I looked a little different. But it was one of those things where maybe I was trying to baby it and not push off so much. But I don't think it's anything serious."

Joel Hanrahan pitched a perfect ninth for his 18th save.

Bud Norris (4-5) kept Houston in the game with another sharp outing in his first start since taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning last week against the Cardinals. He struck out nine in seven innings, yielding one run and six hits.

Houston's Hunter Pence went 0 for 4 to snap his career-best 23-game hitting streak, which was the longest current streak in the majors and the second-longest overall this season.

"The loss is pretty painful," he said. "We have to find way to win series, and tonight I was not able to contribute. I feel like I had good at-bats, they pitched well and ultimately, it is about wins and losses and the streak was fun. It was a great experience, and I hope some of the fans got to enjoy it a little bit."

Chris Resop and Tony Watson each recorded an out for Pittsburgh before Tim Wood got into trouble in the eighth. Chris Johnson hit a one-out single and pinch-hitter Matt Downs walked before Jose Veras retired Jason Michaels and Michael Bourn to end the inning.

"Our pitching has been outstanding," Hurdle said. "Jeff was very, very effective again tonight. Talk about stepping on and off the gas, using his fastball in spots, mixing in his breaking ball, slider, changeup -- all his pitches."

Jeff Keppinger singled with one out in the second for Houston's first hit, but the Pirates turned a double play to end the inning. Brett Wallace reached on a two-out single in the fifth for Houston's next hit, and Karstens responded by retiring six straight.

Neil Walker helped set up the only run. He reached on a leadoff single in the second and moved up on a wild pitch before Jones' hit gave him 20 RBIs on the year.

"It's 1-0 in the second inning, and you still think you have chances, a lot of opportunities to get back in the game," Norris said. "That is what I kept doing -- I kept it right there."

Jones singled again with one out in the fourth, but was caught stealing. Norris walked Lyle Overbay but got out of the inning by retiring Michael McKenry.

Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen singled in the sixth to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games. He was shaken up after being hit in the groin with a ball on a slide back to first base after an abandoned steal attempt, but remained in the game.

Hurdle was happy with the performance of his defense in backing up Tuesday's solid pitching.

"Our defense has really stepped up," he said. "Our pitchers have been so effective so it heightens the awareness. Guys are in tune -- in step. We've been able to pitch the zone so we have been able to set our defense specifically and expect the ball to be hit in those areas and that's what's been happening more often than not and the guys are looking forward to making plays."


The Astros fired pitching coach Brad Arnsberg. He was replaced on an interim basis by Doug Brocail, a former pitcher for the team. ... Pittsburgh RHP Jose Ascanio cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis.

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.
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Players of the Game

B. Norris
IP 7.0
H 6
ER 1
BB 2
K 9

J. Karstens
IP 6.2
H 3
ER 0
BB 0
K 3

Related Video

Pittsburgh Pirates
Jose Tabata, LF5010012 .267
Ronny Cedeno, SS4000021 .221
Andrew McCutchen, CF3010120 .292
Neil Walker, 2B4120011 .256
Garrett Jones, RF4021013 .245
    Tony Watson, P0000000 .000
    Tim Wood, P0000000 .000
    Jose Veras, P0000000 .000
    Joel Hanrahan, P0000000 .000
Lyle Overbay, 1B2000223 .233
Michael McKenry, C3000004 .000
Brandon Wood, 3B3000111 .213
Jeff Karstens, P3000012 .087
    Chris Resop, P0000000 .000
    Xavier Paul, RF0000100 .259
SH - Michael McKenry (1)
RBI - Garrett Jones (20)
SB - Andrew McCutchen (12, 3rd base off Escalona/Corporan), Garrett Jones (3, 2nd base off Norris/Corporan)
CS - Garrett Jones (2, 2nd base by Norris/Corporan)
Team LOB - 9
DP - Overbay-Cedeno-Karstens
Pittsburgh Pirates
Jeff Karstens (W,4-4) 6.2300030 2.66
Chris Resop (H,7) 0.1000010 4.25
Tony Watson (H,2) 0.1000000 0.00
Tim Wood0100100 0.00
Jose Veras (H,12) 0.2000000 3.29
Joel Hanrahan (S,18) 1000000 1.42
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Karstens 87-63, Chris Resop 3-3, Tony Watson 3-2, Tim Wood 9-4, Jose Veras 11-6, Joel Hanrahan 6-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Karstens 8-8, Joel Hanrahan 2-1
Batters Faced - Jeff Karstens 22, Chris Resop 1, Tony Watson 1, Tim Wood 2, Jose Veras 2, Joel Hanrahan 3
Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF4000002 .276
Clint Barmes, SS4000000 .212
Hunter Pence, RF4000000 .320
Carlos Lee, LF-1B4010000 .269
Jeff Keppinger, 2B3010011 .297
Brett Wallace, 1B2010001 .313
   a- Jason Bourgeois, PH-LF1000000 .368
Chris Johnson, 3B3010021 .232
Carlos Corporan, C2000000 .182
   b- Matt Downs, PH0000100 .275
    J.R. Towles, C0000000 .205
Bud Norris, P2000010 .083
    Enerio Del Rosario, P0000000 .000
    Sergio Escalona, P0000000 .000
   c- Jason Michaels, PH1000002 .182
    Fernando Rodriguez, P0000000 .000
a-lined out for Wallace in the 8th
b-walked for Corporan in the 8th
c-flied out for Escalona in the 8th
E - Carlos Corporan (1, Throwing)
Houston Astros
Bud Norris (L,4-5) 7611290 3.48
Enerio Del Rosario 0.1000100 4.20
Sergio Escalona 0.2000010 1.64
Fernando Rodriguez 1000210 2.31
IBB - Wood by Bud Norris, Paul by Fernando Rodriguez
WP - Bud Norris (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Bud Norris 109-66, Enerio Del Rosario 9-4, Sergio Escalona 7-5, Fernando Rodriguez 23-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bud Norris 3-8, Enerio Del Rosario 1-0, Sergio Escalona 1-0, Fernando Rodriguez 2-0
Batters Faced - Bud Norris 28, Enerio Del Rosario 2, Sergio Escalona 2, Fernando Rodriguez 5
Game Information
Attendance - 29712
Game Time - 2:41
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Field Culbreth, First Base - Gary Cederstrom, Second Base - Adrian Johnson, Third Base - Al Porter