Pittsburgh 5 – Houston 1
W: Jeff Karstens (7-4)
L: Wandy Rodriguez (6-5)
Red-Hot Pirates move four games above .500
The Pittsburgh Pirates continued their winning ways behind excellent starting pitching from Jeff Karstens and a power surge from the bottom of their order as Brandon Wood homered and drove in three runs, leading the Pirates to a 5-1 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night at PNC Park.
The Pirates improved to 45-41 on the season and are four games above .500 this late in the season for the first time since 1992.
The Pirates did not win their 45th game in 2010 until September 3rd.
Pittsburgh has won three straight and have won 10 of 14 games.
The team moves a game above .500 at home, 21-20 and are 6-2 in their last 8 games at home.
Pittsburgh continues to beat teams they should and are now 7-1 against Houston this season.
The Pirates look for the sweep tomorrow night.
Karstens sets the tone for Pirates
Jeff Karstens earned his 7th win of the season, allowing 7 hits and 1 run in seven innings pitched. Karstens left the mound in the 8th inning to a standing ovation from the home crowd and has now lowered his ERA to 2.55 on the season, which ranks in the top-10 in Baseball and 5th in the National League.
Karstens struck out 3 and walked 0 batters and is now 2-0 on the season against the Astros, allowing just 1 run in 13 2/3 innings pitched.
Pirate starters have collected 34 wins on the season, tying their total for the 2010 season.
Karstens is 4-1 at home.
Some Numbers for Karstens:
*Has allowed 3 earned runs or fewer in 13 straight starts and has yielded two earned runs or fewer in 10 of his last 11 starts.
*Karstens has issued just seven walks in his last 59 1/3 innings pitched, a span of nine starts.
*Six+ innings pitched in seven straight starts.
*Karstens has given up 17 home runs this season. 16 of them have been solo home runs.
Bottom of the Order lifts offense
The Pirates 7-9 hitters who all came into the night hitting below .220, combined for all 5 RBI’s. Brandon Wood went 2-for-3 at the plate, hitting a two-run homer in the 2nd and driving in Neil Walker on a single to center in the 4th.
Michael McKenry (0-3) had a sacrifice fly in the 6th, scoring Neil Walker, and Jeff Karstens laid down an excellent sacrifice bunt, scoring Lyle Overbay in the 6th.
Diaz has three hit night
Matt Diaz has bumped hit batting average up to .281 on the season, going 3-for-4 at the plate, while batting in the No. 3 hole.
Walker has first extra base hit in 12 games
Neil Walker had a strong day at the plate, going 2-for-4 with 2 runs scored and a double. Walker’s double was his first extra base hit in 12 games. Although Walker’s homerless streak is now at 27 games, his 55 RBI’s rank in the top-10 in the National League.
Overbay 7-for-11 in last three games
First Baseman Lyle Overbay had two hits and scored twice in tonight’s 5-1 win.
Overbay is 7-for-11 with 3 RBI’s, 3 runs scored and a double in his last 3 games.
How they scored
PIT 2nd Brandon Wood (4) homered to right center off Wandy Rodriguez. Lyle Overbay scored. (PIT 2-0)
PIT 4th Brandon Wood singled to center off Wandy Rodriguez, N Walker scored. (PIT 3-0)
HOU 5th Clint Barmes homered to left off Jeff Karstens. (PIT 3-1)
PIT 6th Michael McKenry hit sacrifice fly to right, scoring Neil Walker. Lyle Overbay advanced to third. (PIT 4-1)
PIT 6th Jeff Karstens sacrificed to pitcher, scoring Lyle Overbay. Brandon Wood advanced to second.
Infielder Josh Harrison will not go on the 7-day (Concussion) DL after passing the necessary tests this afternoon….
Third baseman Pedro Alvarez went 1-for-3 with 2 RBI’s, 1 run scored and 2 walks for Triple-A Indianapolis tonight…..
Reliever Joe Beimel is on track to be activated following the All-Star break…..