Astros Fall to McCutchen And The Pirates 5-4

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 07: Sergio Escalona #52 of the Houston Astros reacts after giving up back to back hits in the eighth against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game on September 7, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Pirates defeated the Astros 5-4. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Heading into the bottom of the fifth inning I sincerely thought we had this one in the bag. A 4-1 lead, the new and improved J.A. Happ on the mound and the Pirates after a wonderful start were back to....well being the Pirates. Apparently like so many other times this season I was wrong. J.A. Happ turned back into a pumpkin and the Pirates well the fact is they're better than the Astros.

I keep waiting for the Astros to finally have that good run of series, that good few weeks of winning baseball, but it's looking more and more like that isn't going to happen. With the loss last night the Astros drop to 48-95 on the season and I keep hoping they can turn it around long enough to avoid the first 100 loss season in franchise history. 

The game was not as bad as I've probably made it out to be. In the first inning Carlos Lee and Matt Downs went back to back to give the Astros a three run lead. Clint Barmes added onto the lead with a homerun in the top of the fourth inning to give the Astros a 4-1 lead but that was it for the game. Not ideal, but three homeruns from the Astros offense is outstanding.

Happ for his part was pretty solid up his final line was 5 innings, 8 strikeouts, 4 walks and 4 runs on 5 hits. Not a bad line if you look past the runs allowed, obviously the walks are starting to creep back but with 8 strikeouts that's easy to overlook for the moment. For the most part he was able to keep the Pirates lineup in check except for Andrew McCutchen who he faced twice with 2 outs in the inning, both times he got burned for homeruns. The first a solo home run in the first inning to the opposite field and the second a three run shot to left which tied the game in the fifth inning.

Still the game was only tied when it was handed over to the bullpen. In the eight things got a little crazy, Wilton Lopez started the inning getting Ryan Ludwick to fly out to left, then allowed back to back singles to Garrett Jones and Ryan Doumit. Sergio Escalano relieved Lopez and allowed Jason Jaramillo to single to right. Brian Bogusevic, who had entered the top of the inning as a pinch hitter, threw home to try and get Jones but the throw was late. Humberto Quintero then threw to second catching Jaramillo in a run down. After a bit of a rundown Jaramillo would eventually be out at second. Bogusevic who applied the tag to Jaramillo at second then threw home to get Doumit who had been trying to score with the rundown going on between first and second. That would end the inning and make way for Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan who collected his 36th save on the season.

So it wasn't a bad loss, but it was still another loss on the Astros march to 100.

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