Pirates 4 – Astros 0
W: Jeff Karstens (8-4, 2.34 ERA)
L: Brett Myers (3-10, 4.86 ERA)
First Place Pirates
— The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Houston Astros 4-0 on Friday night, improving to 48-43 on the season.
The Pirates moved into first place with the win.
The Cincinnati Reds (46-47) defeated the St. Louis Cardinals (49-44) 6-5 with a Brandon Phillips walkoff homer and the Colorado Rockies shutout the Milwaukee Brewers (49-44), 4-0.
Karstens throws 2nd career shutout game
— In nine days rest, Jeff Karstens (8-4, 2.34) was calm and composed, earning his 8th win of the season with a complete game shutout, the second of his career.
Karstens allowed 5 hits and 0 runs, while striking out 2 and walking none in the victory.
Karstens has lowered his ERA to 2.34 (3rd in NL) and is 5-0 with a 1.26 ERA in his last 8 starts.
Karstens has won his last four starts and has now allowed 3 earned runs or less in 16 straight starts.
The right hander continues to show excellent command, throwing 64 strikes on 83 pitches. Karstens cruised through much of the night, throwing 34 of 43 pitches for strikes through five innings.
Karstens got out of one key jam in the 7th, with runners at first and third, Karstens got Wallace to hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Karstens had 13 flyball outs and 12 groundouts in the win. He improves to 3-0 against the Astros this season.
Karstens in his last two starts: 2-0, 16 IP – 12 H – 1 R – 5 SO – 0 BB – 132 Strikes on 173 pitchers
McCutchen breaks open game in 3rd
— Andrew McCutchen (1-4, RBI) struck out 3 times but drove in two runs (56) with his 4th triple of the year, on a towering hit to right center past the speedy Michael Bourn, giving the Pirates a 3-0 lead in the top of the 3rd.
McCutchen has 16 RBI’s, 5 doubles and 2 triples in his last 11 games.
* Neil Walker (1-5, 1 RBI) remains an RBI machine, driving in Alex Presley for an RBI single in the first inning. Walker extended his hitting streak to 9 games in the win.
Walker’s 60 RBI’s rank 6th in the National League
Pirates active on base pads
*Alex Presley (1-4, 2 runs, SB ) continues to make things happen at the plate, leading off the game with a single, for his 8th leadoff hit in 14 games.
Although it’s a small sampling, Presley has established himself as a much better leadoff option than Jose Tabata, who could be a better fit in the No. 2 hole once he returns from a strained quad.
Presley also extended his hitting streak to five games in the process and was active on the base pads, scoring twice and stealing his 3rd base of the season.
The Pirates had three stolen bases in the game, with Josh Harrison (2) and Chase d’Arnaud (6) also swiping bases. d’Arnaud who played extremely well in the field, has six stolen bases on the season and went 2-for-5 at the plate.
The speed element with the additions of Presley and d’Arnaud has been big for the Pirates.
Myers throws 11 strikeouts in loss
Astros starter Brett Myers (3-10, 4.86 ERA) had a solid performance, allowing 5 hits and 3 runs, while striking out 11 in six innings pitched.
By comparison, Jeff Karstens only had two strikeouts but it was Karstens who didn’t give up that “big turning point hit” that Myers gave up to McCutchen in the 3rd.
Ronny Cedeno (concussion) is with the team going through workouts and will begin a rehab stint in Bradenton as early as Sunday….
Jose Tabata tweaked his injured quad and was held out of tonight’s rehab game for precautionary reasons….
GM Neal Huntington was in Columbus tonight, taking in tonight’s game Clippers – Indians game.
Several notable players were in action in the Indians 4-3 loss:
Pedro Alvarez went 1-for-3, with a walk, single, 2 strikeouts and a run scored…..
Steve Pearce homered for the second straight game, going 2-for-5 with a HR, RBI and run scored….
Matt Hague went 1-for-3 with a double and run scored in the loss. He is batting .324 on the season…..
Starter Brad Lincoln (7-7, 3.91 ERA) received a no decision. Lincoln allowed 8 hits and 3 runs in 6 innings pitched. Lincoln struck out 5 and walked none…..
Elsewhere in the minors, Top prospect Jameson Taillon (2-2, 4.13 ERA) allowed 9 hits and 5 runs in 5 innings pitched for the West Virginia Power tonight. Taillon struck out 5 and walked none.
Taillon has allowed 15 hits and 12 runs in his last 7 1/3 innings pitched.