Bucs get the drop on Astros
Pirates catcher Russell Martin looks for the ball as the Astros’ Robbie Grossman scores on a double steal and a bad throw by second baseman Neil Walker in the fifth inning of Friday’s game in Pittsburgh.
PITTSBURGH – Jimmy Paredes dropped Russell Martin’s bases-loaded fly ball when he collided with second baseman Jake Elmore with two outs in the ninth inning, the second missed catch by a Houston right fielder, and the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied past the Astros 5-4 Friday night.
Down 4-1, Pittsburgh started its comeback in the sixth when Chris Carter, usually a designated hitter, dropped Andrew McCutchen’s fly ball for a three-base error and Garrett Jones followed with a double.
Pedro Alvarez hit a two-run homer in the eighth, a 462-foot drive that cleared the right-field stands and went into the Allegheny River on one hop.
Starling Marte singled off Edgar Gonzalez (0-1) leading off the ninth, and Travis Snider hit into a forceout, with the Astros failing to turn a double play with a late throw to first.
McCutchen’s single put runners at the corners, and Gonzalez fielded Brandon Inge’s comebacker and dropped it for an error as he turned to throw to second, missing his chance to start an inning-ending double play.
Neil Walker took a called third strike with a full count, and Martin lifted a full-count pitch to short right-center field, where Elmore settled under the ball and Paredes slammed into him as the ball hit his glove and fell to the field.
Justin Wilson (4-0) pitched a scoreless ninth as the Pirates (25-17) won for the seventh time in eight games to move a season-high eight games over .500.
Andrew McCutchen homered and had three hits for Pittsburgh.
Houston’s 11-31 start is its worst and matched Miami for the worst record in the major leagues.
Astros starter Jordan Lyles allowed two runs — one earned — and four hits in five innings and is 0-4 with a 6.75 ERA in six career starts against Pittsburgh.
Pirates starter Jeanmar Gomez gave up four runs — three earned -- and five hits in 4 2-3 innings.
Houston built a 4-1 lead on Jason Castro’s sacrifice fly in the first and a three-run third that included Matt Dominguez’s solo homer, Elmore’s run-scoring single and a throwing error by Walker at second.
McCutchen homered in the first.
NOTES: The Pirates placed RHP Jose Contreras on the bereavement list and recalled RHP Jared Hughes from Triple-A Indianapolis. ... Houston 2B Jose Altuve missed his third straight game because of the death of his grandmother and will be activated from the bereavement list prior to Saturday night’s game. Elmore likely will be optioned back to Triple-A Oklahoma. ... Astros RHP Bud Norris will start Tuesday against Kansas City rather than Sunday against Pittsburgh. He left Monday’s start because of lower back spasms while warming up for the sixth inning. RHP Lucas Harrell and LHP Dallas Keuchel both had their turns moved up a day. Harrell will face the Pirates on Sunday and Keuchel will pitch Monday against the Royals. ... LHP Philip Humber accepted an outright assignment to Oklahoma after Houston designated him for assignment last weekend. Humber was 0-8 with a 9.59 ERA in nine games, including seven starts, for the Astros. ... LHP Erik Bedard (0-2, 6.67) will start Saturday night for Houston against RHP A.J. Burnett (3-4, 2.73). The Pirates released Bedard last Aug. 30.