The 58-42 Pittsburgh Pirates had another fistfight in a 4-3 win over the 34-68 Houston Astros on Saturday going up three games to none. Alex Presley's home run put Pittsburgh in front during the top of the first and went back ahead during the top of the fourth on Neil Walker's HR. Carlos Corporan's RBI-single drove in Justin Maxwell for Houston's first run during the second inning. The Astros jumped ahead of the Pirates during the bottom of the fifth on Maxwell's two-run triple.
Pittsburgh sprang ahead an inning later on Corporan's passed baseball allowing Garrett Jones to race home. The Pirates scored the game-winning run tonight in Houston during the top of the eighth when Rod Barajas' RBI-single drove in Andrew McCutchen.
The Astros try to avoid a four-game sweep Sunday when 7-7 Lucas Harrell with a 4.07 ERA hurls next. Harrell is 5-1 at Minute Maid Park yielding 13 runs, eight earned, during 40 innings in decisions. Houston lost by two runs each to the 59-40 Cincinnati Reds and 46-54 Miami Marlins at Minute Maid with Harrell throwing 12.1 innings conceding four runs, three earned. In Pittsburgh on July 3 Harrell let in five runs during five innings of an 8-7 Astros loss. Pittsburgh is 9-for-23 with two RBIs from McCutchen versus Harrell.
10-4 James McDonald with a 3.15 ERA goes next for the Pirates. McDonald is 5-1 in away appearances allowing 23 runs, 20 earned, during 41 innings in six decisions. McDonald's no-decisions shielded six runs, five earned, during 8.2 innings in two Pittsburgh losses at the 45-55 Milwaukee Brewers and 55-45 San Francisco Giants. At PNC Park McDonald discarded three runs during 15 innings to Houston who is 18-for-89 with five RBIs against him all-time. This should be another barnburner. I'll take the Pirates once again to beat the National League doormat Astros.