Jason Castro almost won the game for Houston outright.
Instead, he had to wait a few more at-bats before scoring the winning run on Saturday as the Astros rallied past the Pirates for a 4-2 victory at PNC Park.
Houston tie the score at 2-2 in the top of the eighth on Chris Carter's line-drive single that scored Trevor Crowe. It took until the 11th, though, for Castro and Co. to come through in the clutch.
Castro led off the top of the 11th with a double that banged off the center field wall, just missing leaving the park. After Pittsburgh intentionally walked Carlos Pena (who's got a .417 on-base percentage in his last seven games), a wild pitch moved both runners up a base.
That set up Matt Dominguez to hit a fielder's choice to a drawn in Pirates infield. Second baseman Neil Walker got to the ball quickly and fired home, but Castro was able to slide past and score a run, making it 3-2 Houston. The play was close and you can see it here.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was incensed. Fired up, even. For his respectful disagreement with the umpire, he was given the heave-ho from the game. On the first pitch after Hurdle was tossed, Astros manager Bo Porter attempted the suicide squeeze to bring home another run, but couldn't pull it off. Pena was called out at the plate, but both Dominguez and Marwin Gonzalez moved up a base.
That set up pinch-hitter J.D. Martinez, who laced a single to center, scoring Matt Dominguez and making it 4-2 Astros. Game Breaker was thrown out at third by the Pirates to end the inning, but the damage was already done.
Jose Veras came in, struck out Brandon Inge and got two quick outs for his sixth save.
Jose Altuve was excellent as always, showing no signs of rust from his time off due to Captain Collision/bereavement leave. The Astros second baseman was 3 for 5 with an RBI. Jason Castro and Chris Carter also had two hits in the game, while Castros had Houston's only extra-base hit.
Oh, and did I mention Erik Bedard, who quietly spun another great start? Bedard only threw 91 pitches, but made i through six innings, allowing two runs on seven hits while walking none and striking out three. That dropped Bedard's ERA down to 6.00, which is nearly respectable. Well, it's in the neighborhood of respectable. In the same county, at the very least.