September 5, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Fernando Abad (58) delivers a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
The Astros dropped tonight's match with the Pirates 6-3, and lose two in a row to lose the series after taking game one. Despite the loss there were a few positives to take away from the game. The first being that the bullpen kept their hot streak going and combined to pitch five innings while only allowing one run. The other positive would be that newly acquired Brandon Laird hit his first homerun as a member of the Astros.
Long story short, Bullpen good, Starter not so good. And now the long version.
Fernando Abad labored through his four innings of work tonight. He allowed six hits, five runs (four earned), three walks and three strikeouts. He got the game started off right with a lineout of the bat of Holt to Altuve for the first out. After that though the next four batters went like this: single, walk, single, single, and the end result was two Pittsburgh runs in the bottom of the first. Brett Wallace got the next inning started off on the wrong foot and committed a fielding error. After the runner was moved to second on a sac bunt Abad allowed the runner to advance to third on a wild pitch. Brock Holt later singled in the runner to give Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead. Abad looked like he was going to settle in with a 1-2-3 third inning while recording two strikeouts, but unraveled in the fourth and allowed two more runs to score which ended his night.
Mickey Storey relieved Abad and pitched a solid fifth before running int a little trouble in the sixth inning. He allowed a single and a walk to start the inning, and both runners were moved over by a sacrifice bunt by Brock Holt. Hector Ambriz then relieved Storey and allowed a run to score on a squeeze bunt executed by ex-Astro Clint Barmes. Ambriz then got McCutchen to strikeout to end the inning.
Xavier Cedeno led off the seventh inning with a single and a walk before settling in and getting out of the inning unscathed. Wilton Lopez took over in the eighth and enjoyed a 1-2-3 inning and two strikeouts.
The offense remaining pretty quiet tonight until the ninth inning. The Astros had a good opportunity to break things open in the fourth. With one run already plated, the Astros had bases loaded and only one out with Carlos Corporan at the plate. Unfortunately Corporan grounded into a double play that went 3-2-3 to end the inning. As fate would have it Corporan doubled with nobody on base in his next at-bat.
There wasn't any other scoring on the Astros behalf until the ninth when Brett Wallace led things off with a single. With two-outs in the ninth Brandon Laird hit his first homerun as an Astro to make it 6-3. Unfortunately though that's where it ended as Corporan struck out to end the game.
Overall the offense had eight hits, one walk, and five strikeouts. They left twelve runners on base, and were 2-7 with runners in scoring position.
Hooks Playoff Update
The Hooks trail the Rough Riders 5-3 in the top of the seventh. Clemens got knocked around early, and Erick Abreu was able to keep the game the game where it stood. Hopefully the Hooks can rally against the Rough Riders bullpen. George Springer just walked. Go Hooks. Jethawks are just about to get under way.