Pittsburgh at Houston

Scoreboard
Pittsburgh (62-74)000000000041
Houston (47-90) «00020000x280

Astros 2, Pirates 0

CBSSports.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- Houston's offense didn't give J.A. Happ much to work with. Good thing he didn't need much help.

Happ allowed three hits and struck out six over seven innings and the Astros beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-0 on Wednesday night for a sweep of the three-game series.

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"You can do a lot with good pitching," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "What a great job throughout his seven innings. He threw the ball with confidence. His rhythm was good. He got the ball. He threw the ball. It was sure nice to see."

Despite having the worst record in baseball (47-90), the Astros have won five of their last seven overall and seven of their last eight at home. Houston's other sweep this season was against the Chicago Cubs May 30-June 1.

Happ (5-15) had his second strong outing since returning from Triple-A Oklahoma City. He didn't allow a runner past first base and walked one. It was Happ's first major league victory since July 19.

"Obviously, getting ahead of the hitters helped me tonight," Happ said. "It gave me the confidence to kind of attack a little bit. Putting them on the defensive is what I need to do more of and I think I did that tonight.

"Having success is helping and having a little mentality change and being positive out there."

James McDonald (8-7), who had won five of his previous seven decisions, pitched six innings, allowed seven hits, two walks and struck out six.

In the fourth inning the Astros pieced together two runs on a groundout and an infield hit.

Mark Melancon pitched the ninth for his 16th save in 21 opportunities.

Jimmy Paredes walked to start the fourth and Angel Sanchez singled, sending Paredes to third.

Humberto Quintero hit a dribbler in front of home plate and was thrown out at first with Paredes scoring. Jordan Schafer's infield hit toward first base scored Sanchez for a 2-0 lead.

Pirates first baseman Garrett Jones made the throw back to McDonald at the plate trying to get Paredes, but it was too late.

"The catcher threw the ball and he didn't go back," Paredes said. "I say, I'm safe, go home. The catcher threw the ball and he didn't come back. I said, 'He's crazy."'

McDonald tried to make the play.

"He was going to slide, and he could have hit my leg," McDonald said. "It was a big play. It wasn't that bad of a throw. If I was a catcher and had gear on, I would have had no problem stepping across and getting that throw."

Jones tried to make a quick throw.

"I tried to throw and get rid of it quick, and I think James couldn't get his feet set and the throw was up the line a bit," Jones said. "It's a bang-bang play. If there was a throw right on the money, we would have had a better chance to get him. It's tough also for a pitcher to get back there and make that play."

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle added that catcher Ryan Doumit made the right choice in going to first base.

"Ryan made the right play. We have to be able to execute throwing the ball 90 feet," Hurdle said. "I do think that James might have been caught a little bit off guard. I'm not sure if the positioning of the plate is where it needed to be and the throw was off line."

Pittsburgh's Carlos Lee extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the third and a double off the wall in left in the eighth for a 2-for-4 performance. Lee is hitting .477 (21 for 44) during the streak.

Notes

The Pirates traded OF Matt Diaz to Atlanta for a player to be named or cash and sent Triple-A outfielder John Bowker to Philadelphia for a player to be named or cash. Pittsburgh's J.D. Martinez has 28 RBI in August, one short of tying the NL rookie record for August. David Justice (1990) and Todd Helton (1998) currently share the record. The Astros will recall RHP Lucas Harrell to pitch Friday night against Milwaukee. Harrell is pitching in place of Brett Myers, whose wife Kim, is expecting their fourth child. Pirates SS Randy Cedeno had his five-game hitting streak snapped.

 
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

A. Sanchez
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
Houston

J. Happ
IP 7.0
H 3
ER 0
BB 1
K 6
 

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Pittsburgh Pirates
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jose Tabata, RF4000011 .270
Alex Presley, LF4000000 .287
Andrew McCutchen, CF3000010 .272
Ryan Doumit, C4010011 .267
Neil Walker, 2B3010001 .275
Garrett Jones, 1B3000012 .245
Josh Harrison, 3B2010111 .283
Ronny Cedeno, SS3000012 .260
James McDonald, P2010010 .100
    Tony Watson, P0000000 .000
   a- Xavier Paul, PH1000000 .257
    Jose Veras, P0000000 .000
    Joel Hanrahan, P0000000 .000
Totals2904017  
a-grounded out for Watson in the 8th
Fielding
DP - Cedeno-G. Jones
E - Garrett Jones (4, Throwing)
Pittsburgh Pirates
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
James McDonald (L,8-7) 6721260 4.11
Tony Watson 1000000 4.60
Jose Veras 0.2100110 3.41
Joel Hanrahan 0.1000000 1.69
Pitches-Strikes - James McDonald 94-60, Tony Watson 8-6, Jose Veras 22-15, Joel Hanrahan 6-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - James McDonald 3-8, Tony Watson 1-2, Joel Hanrahan 1-0
Batters Faced - James McDonald 26, Tony Watson 3, Jose Veras 4, Joel Hanrahan 1
Houston Astros
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jordan Schafer, CF4011003 .253
Jose Altuve, 2B4000011 .305
J.D. Martinez, LF4010010 .293
    Mark Melancon, P0000000 .000
Carlos Lee, 1B4020011 .276
Brian Bogusevic, RF3010111 .288
Jimmy Paredes, 3B3110122 .297
Angel Sanchez, SS4120002 .246
Humberto Quintero, C3000003 .260
J.A. Happ, P1000113 .200
   a- Jason Michaels, PH1000000 .199
    Fernando Rodriguez, P0000000 .000
    Jason Bourgeois, LF0000000 .284
Totals3128137  
a-flied out for Happ in the 7th
Batting
2B - Carlos Lee (34, Veras)
RBI - Jordan Schafer (12)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Altuve-Sanchez-Lee, Altuve-Sanchez-Lee
Houston Astros
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
J.A. Happ (W,5-15) 7300160 5.71
Fernando Rodriguez (H,5) 1100000 3.21
Mark Melancon (S,16) 1000010 3.23
HBP - A. McCutchen (by Mark Melancon)
Pitches-Strikes - J.A. Happ 110-71, Fernando Rodriguez 9-6, Mark Melancon 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J.A. Happ 6-8, Fernando Rodriguez 2-0, Mark Melancon 2-0
Batters Faced - J.A. Happ 24, Fernando Rodriguez 3, Mark Melancon 4
Game Information
Attendance - 22918
Game Time - 2:28
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Mike Everitt, First Base - Chris Guccione, Second Base - Mike Muchlinski, Third Base - Mike Winters