Houston at Pittsburgh

Houston (29-57)102000000361
Pittsburgh (44-41) «01201100x5143

Pirates 5, Astros 3

CBSSports.com wire reports

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates fans aren't used to watching relevant baseball in July. They've responded favorably to it.

Rookie Alex Presley had three of the Pirates' 14 hits and Pittsburgh moved three games over .500 this late in the season for the first time in 12 years with a 5-3 win over the Houston Astros on Monday.

Chase d'Arnaud, Garrett Jones, Neil Walker and Lyle Overbay each had two hits for Pittsburgh, which played in front of its fourth consecutive home sellout crowd -- another sign of how rare it is for the Pirates to be in contention.

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Paul Maholm (5-9) allowed one earned run in six innings for the Pirates, who entered the day 1½ games behind Milwaukee and St. Louis the National League Central -- the first time they were less than two games from a division lead this late in a season since 1997.

"It's fun, but we need to continue to play well," Maholm said. "In September, it will be a lot more fun. For any of us who have been here, it's uncharted waters, but you're seeing a group that's having fun and likes playing in front of big crowds. Today was cool. These were all Pirates' fans and you had 10,000 military personnel here, too. It was really a special day."

Jeff Keppinger had two hits and scored two runs and Hunter Pence went 2 for 3 to extend his hitting streak to nine games for the Astros, who have lost four consecutive, nine of 10 and 12 of 14.

They have the majors' worst record -- a distinction that last season belonged to the Pirates. But Pittsburgh is 14 games better than it was at this point of 2010. The Pirates have won three of four and nine of 13.

"The energy and attitude is completely different," said Presley, who was recalled six days earlier after having played in 19 September games for Pittsburgh last season.

"We had already been eliminated when I got called up. Now, we're a game out of first place and we feel like we're going to win every time out. It's fun and just totally different. We had a good crowd and I really got to see what Pittsburgh fans are like this time."

Pittsburgh scored more runs Monday than it had in all but two of the previous 17 starts by Maholm, who allowed five hits and three walks with three strikeouts. Maholm has won four of his past six decisions, lowering his ERA to 3.08.

Daniel McCutchen, Jose Veras and Joel Hanrahan each followed with a scoreless inning of relief. Named an All-Star on Sunday, Hanrahan worked a perfect ninth to improve to 25 for 25 in save opportunities, a Pirates record for most consecutive saves without a blown save. It also tied the team mark for most saves prior to the All-star break.

With the game tied at 3 in the fifth, Walker singled to right, scoring d'Arnaud. Presley's two-out triple in the sixth scored Brandon Wood to make it 5-3.

Those runs came after the Pirates had rallied to tie Houston twice after trailing 1-0 and 3-1.

"A lot of things went on in the first three innings," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said, "but we were able to slow things down and Paul was able to settle down.

"Defensively, we patched things up. We swung the bats consistently again," Hurdle added. "[Brett] Myers throws everything at you. For us to stay after it to catch up and go ahead showed a lot of moxie on our part."

Houston's two-run third came the result of three Pittsburgh errors, but the Pirates tied it the following half-inning when d'Arnaud doubled and scored on Andrew McCutchen's double. Overbay then drove McCutchen in with a single.

Myers (3-8) allowed five runs -- four earned -- with no walks and one strikeout in six innings.

"Balls were hit on the ground; they were right to the holes," Myers said. "I guess that's the way it's going. I felt like I made good pitches and they were just finding holes and making me work deep into counts."

A day after matching a season high for hits with 16 hits, the Pirates had 13 off Myers -- the most he's allowed in 234 career starts.

"He didn't walk anybody, but they seemed to put the ball in play on him and kept fouling him off and fouling him off and kept getting the pitch count up," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "But he battled all the way through and gave us those six innings, and gave us that chance."


  • Before the game, Hurdle criticized those involved with the selection process for next week's All-Star game for not including McCutchen. "I think everybody whiffed on this one," Hurdle said. McCutchen's .904 on base-plus-slugging percentage ranked fifth among NL outfielders heading into Monday.
  • Pirates 3B Josh Harrison left the game after the third inning due to dizziness. He had collided with Astros C Carlos Corporan at home plate in the second. Harrison was being administered post-concussion tests Monday.
  • The crowd of 36,942 ensured the first time the Pirates sold out four consecutive games in the history of 11-year-old PNC Park.
Copyright 2015 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

A. Presley
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0

J. Keppinger
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 0

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Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF5000012 .290
Jeff Keppinger, 2B5220000 .328
Hunter Pence, RF3120000 .325
Carlos Lee, 1B3012002 .267
Jason Michaels, LF3000114 .202
Matt Downs, 3B4010002 .271
Clint Barmes, SS2000210 .235
Carlos Corporan, C3000003 .155
Brett Myers, P3000010 .118
    Sergio Escalona, P0000000 .000
    Enerio Del Rosario, P0000000 .000
   a- Brett Wallace, PH1000000 .290
a-flied out for Del Rosario in the 9th
2B - Hunter Pence (24, D. McCutchen)
SF - Carlos Lee (5)
SH - Carlos Corporan (2)
RBI - Carlos Lee 2 (47)
Team LOB - 8
Outfield Assists - Hunter Pence 2
DP - Barmes-Keppinger-Lee
E - Matt Downs (4, Misplayed grounder)
Houston Astros
Brett Myers (L,3-8) 61354010 4.67
Sergio Escalona 1100010 2.93
Enerio Del Rosario 1000200 4.78
IBB - Presley by Enerio Del Rosario
Pitches-Strikes - Brett Myers 109-80, Sergio Escalona 12-9, Enerio Del Rosario 18-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brett Myers 9-6, Enerio Del Rosario 2-1
Batters Faced - Brett Myers 29, Sergio Escalona 4, Enerio Del Rosario 5
Pittsburgh Pirates
Alex Presley, LF4031102 .364
Chase D'Arnaud, SS5220003 .250
Garrett Jones, RF4020001 .255
    Jose Veras, P0000000 .000
    Joel Hanrahan, P0000000 .000
Andrew McCutchen, CF4111012 .294
Neil Walker, 2B4021001 .255
Lyle Overbay, 1B4121002 .234
Josh Harrison, 3B2010001 .274
    Brandon Wood, 3B1100100 .201
Michael McKenry, C3011001 .231
Paul Maholm, P2000012 .100
    Daniel McCutchen, P0000000 .000
    Xavier Paul, RF1000001 .267
2B - Chase D'Arnaud (3, Myers), Garrett Jones (14, Myers), Andrew McCutchen (22, Myers)
3B - Alex Presley (2, Myers)
SH - Michael McKenry (5), Paul Maholm (4)
RBI - Alex Presley (6), Andrew McCutchen (46), Neil Walker (55), Lyle Overbay (34), Michael McKenry (2)
2-OUT RBI - Alex Presley (1), Lyle Overbay (11)
SB - Alex Presley (2, 2nd base off Del Rosario/Corporan), Neil Walker (5, 2nd base off Escalona/Corporan)
Team LOB - 9
DP - Wood-Walker-Overbay
E - Josh Harrison 2 (4, Misplayed grounder(Pence scores, Lee to third and Downs reached on E5, Downs to), Lyle Overbay (8, Throwing(Pence scores, Lee to third and Downs reached on E5, Downs to second on)
Pittsburgh Pirates
Paul Maholm (W,5-9) 6531330 3.08
Daniel McCutchen (H,5) 1100000 2.09
Jose Veras (H,17) 1000010 2.56
Joel Hanrahan (S,25) 1000000 1.37
IBB - Barmes by Paul Maholm
HBP - Pence (by Paul Maholm)
Pitches-Strikes - Paul Maholm 92-56, Daniel McCutchen 12-8, Jose Veras 7-5, Joel Hanrahan 11-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Paul Maholm 12-4, Daniel McCutchen 2-1, Joel Hanrahan 1-2
Batters Faced - Paul Maholm 28, Daniel McCutchen 4, Jose Veras 3, Joel Hanrahan 3
Game Information
Attendance - 36942
Game Time - 2:45
Temperature - 82
Umpires - Home - Jim Wolf, First Base - John Tumpane, Second Base - Ron Kulpa, Third Base - Derryl Cousins