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Houston at Pittsburgh

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Houston (42-95)000100002381
Pittsburgh (72-64) «21020100x690

Pirates 6, Astros 3

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- Kevin Correia and Alex Presley used rare starts to make big contributions for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Correia pitched six solid innings and Presley had two hits and scored three runs as Pittsburgh beat the Houston Astros 6-3 on Wednesday night to gain ground in the wild-card race.

"At this time of year, it's all about winning," Presley said. "You need everybody doing everything they can do to help the team win."

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Correia stepped into the Pirates' rotation for right-hander Jeff Karstens, who injured his right hip Friday in a start at Milwaukee, and allowed only one run and four hits. Correia also walked one and struck out one.

Correia (10-8) pitched four scoreless innings of relief against the Brewers in the game in which Karstens was injured. Correia began the season in the starting rotation but was bumped to the bullpen when the Pirates acquired left-hander Wandy Rodriguez from the Astros in a trade on July 24.

Houston fell to 53 games under .500 at 42-95.

Presley was playing in place of left fielder Jose Tabata, who bruised his left foot on Tuesday night when he fouled a pitch off it and still felt pain after taking batting practice before Wednesday's game.

Pirates rookie Brock Holt had two RBI one night after getting four hits in his fourth major league game and Gaby Sanchez had three hits for Pittsburgh, which pulled within 1½ games of St. Louis in the race for the second National League wild-card spot.

Correia reached double-digit victories for the fourth consecutive season.

"It's just a number but you do want to win as many games as possible because that's your job as a pitcher," Correia said. "The biggest thing you want to do, though, is give your team a chance to win."

Correia did that Wednesday when the Pirates needed him to come through after the Cardinals lost 6-2 to the Mets earlier in the day.

"He gave us a very professional effort," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He moved the ball in and out and kept them off balance. It was a good job."

Presley began the season as the Pirates' leadoff hitter but was twice sent down to Triple-A Indianapolis. He returned to the major leagues Friday with no guarantee of playing time.

"I had an inkling I might start because I saw Tabata hobbling around the clubhouse," Presley said. "Finding out late really didn't make a difference because I've started before. I'm just happy I was able to make a contribution."

Hurdle thought the good performance would be a confidence booster for Presley.

"He has to feel good about that," Hurdle said. "Alex can play and Alex can hit. The problem has been finding a consistent rhythm at this level."

Brandon Laird, yet another injury replacement, provided Houston's highlight with his first major league home run, a two-run, two-out shot in the ninth inning off Jason Grilli. Laird took over at third base in the sixth inning when Scott Moore strained his right groin while fielding a bunt by Holt.

Laird struck out swinging in his first at-bat in the seventh inning against Jared Hughes but was more prepared in the ninth.

"Everybody always tells me, be ready and that's what I was," Laird said. "I went in there and the first at-bat chased a couple bad pitches. I just wanted to go up there right there and see it before I swung and that's what I did and got a good swing on it."

Houston left-hander Fernando Abad (0-3) had another rough start in his conversion to the rotation from the bullpen. He was rocked for six runs -- five earned -- in four innings. Abad has lost all three starts and has an 8.03 ERA in those games.

Abad's poor performance cost Houston the opportunity to win the three-game series.

"I thought Abad could give us a chance but unfortunately we got down again early," Astros interim manager Tony DeFrancesco said. "It's getting frustrating for us."

Pittsburgh scored two runs off Abad in the first and another in the second to take a 3-0 lead. Garrett Jones and Sanchez hit consecutive RBI singles in the first and Holt singled in a run in the second.

After Houston got its lone run in the top of the fourth when Jimmy Paredes doubled and scored on Brian Bogusevic's single, Pittsburgh answered with two runs in the bottom half to increase its lead to 5-1. Presley tripled in a run and scored on a sacrifice fly by Holt.

A squeeze by Clint Barmes brought home a sixth-inning run for the Pirates.

Notes

Houston RF Fernando Martinez (skin irritation) was a late scratch and replaced by OF J.D. Martinez. ... Pittsburgh 2B Neil Walker (lower back stiffness) missed his ninth straight game, is unlikely to return Friday night for the opener of a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs as originally hoped. RF Travis Snider (strained right hamstring) sat out after being injured running the bases Tuesday but hopes to play on Friday. ... Houston expects SS Jed Lowrie (sprained right ankle) to begin an injury rehabilitation assignment this weekend after being on the disabled list since July 15 with a sprained right ankle. ... Both teams are off Thursday. On Friday night, Pittsburgh RHP A.J. Burnett (15-5, 3.63) will face Cubs LHP Travis Wood (4-11, 4.64) while Houston RHP Lucas Harrell (10-9, 3.81) will oppose Reds RHP Hector Bailey (10-9, 4.09) in the first game of a three-game series at Cincinnati.

 
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
Pittsburgh

A. Presley
AB 4
R 3
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
Houston

B. Laird
AB 2
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Houston Astros
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jose Altuve, 2B4000001 .289
Jimmy Paredes, RF4110000 .185
Brett Wallace, 1B3110100 .287
J.D. Martinez, LF4010013 .235
Brian Bogusevic, CF4011021 .210
Scott Moore, 3B2010001 .229
    Brandon Laird, 3B2112010 .400
Carlos Corporan, C4010012 .273
Tyler Greene, SS3000001 .226
Fernando Abad, P1000000 .250
   a- Jordan Schafer, PH1000000 .214
    Mickey Storey, P0000000 .000
    Hector Ambriz, P0000000 .000
    Xavier Cedeno, P0000000 .000
   b- Jason Castro, PH1010000 .264
    Wilton Lopez, P0000000 .000
Totals3338315  
a-grounded out for Abad in the 5th
b-singled for Cedeno in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jimmy Paredes (1, Correia), Carlos Corporan (2, Hughes)
HR - Brandon Laird (1, Grilli)
RBI - Brian Bogusevic (26), Brandon Laird 2 (2)
2-OUT RBI - Brandon Laird 2 (2)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
E - Brett Wallace (5, Misplayed grounder)
Houston Astros
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Fernando Abad (L,0-3) 4654330 5.30
Mickey Storey 1.1211100 3.15
Hector Ambriz 0.2000010 5.68
Xavier Cedeno 1100100 4.94
Wilton Lopez 1000020 2.47
WP - Fernando Abad (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Fernando Abad 87-55, Mickey Storey 27-16, Hector Ambriz 7-4, Xavier Cedeno 18-9, Wilton Lopez 16-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Fernando Abad 5-4, Mickey Storey 3-1, Hector Ambriz 1-0, Wilton Lopez 1-0
Batters Faced - Fernando Abad 21, Mickey Storey 7, Hector Ambriz 2, Xavier Cedeno 5, Wilton Lopez 3
Pittsburgh Pirates
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Brock Holt, 2B3012000 .438
Clint Barmes, SS2111210 .222
Andrew McCutchen, CF3100113 .345
Garrett Jones, RF3011110 .292
Gaby Sanchez, 1B4031000 .225
Pedro Alvarez, 3B4000013 .245
Rod Barajas, C4110005 .199
Alex Presley, LF4321002 .238
Kevin Correia, P1000011 .139
   a- Jeff Clement, PH0000100 .000
    Jared Hughes, P0000000 .000
   b- Eric Fryer, PH1000010 .250
    Jason Grilli, P0000000 .000
Totals2969656  
a-walked for Correia in the 6th
b-struck out for Hughes in the 8th
Batting
3B - Alex Presley (5, Abad)
SF - Brock Holt (1)
SH - Brock Holt (1), Clint Barmes (8), Kevin Correia (7)
RBI - Brock Holt 2 (3), Clint Barmes (41), Garrett Jones (75), Gaby Sanchez (23), Alex Presley (19)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - G. Sanchez-Barajas, Hughes-Barmes-G. Sanchez
Pittsburgh Pirates
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Kevin Correia (W,10-8) 6411110 4.28
Jared Hughes 2200020 2.65
Jason Grilli 1222021 2.47
Pitches-Strikes - Kevin Correia 67-42, Jared Hughes 21-15, Jason Grilli 17-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kevin Correia 8-8, Jared Hughes 2-1
Batters Faced - Kevin Correia 22, Jared Hughes 7, Jason Grilli 5
Game Information
Attendance - 14159
Game Time - 2:43
Temperature - 83
Umpires - Home - Jerry Meals, First Base - Mike Winters, Second Base - Wally Bell, Third Base - Mark Wegner