Final: Pirates 4, Astros 3
Wandy Rodriguez was all over the place in his Pirates debut, but was able to labor through six innings to get a “quality start.” I have to imagine that I would feel a little weird and a bit nervous making my debut with a new team against the club I was a part of the past eight seasons. Rodriguez ended the start giving up three runs and five walks over six innings while striking out five.
Alex Presley started things off in the first inning with a solo home run, his second in as many games and eighth of the year. But the Astros answered back capitalizing on back-to-back walks to start off the bottom of the second with a run to tie it up.
Neil Walker then drilled his 10th homer of the year into the second deck in right center field to break the tie in the fourth inning to put the Bucs back up 2-1. However, Jason Maxwell hit a two-run triple in the fifth inning to grab a 3-2 lead after Rodriguez allowed back-to-back singles to lead off the frame.
But the Astros relinquished the lead quickly when Garrett Jones scored on a passed ball in the sixth to tie things up. Then, in the eighth, following a leadoff walk by Andrew McCutchen and a single by Garrett Jones, Rod Barajas delivered a two-out RBI single to left field. Amazingly, it was the Pirates’ first hit of the series with runners in scoring position.
Starling Marte went 0 for 5 with a strikeout and is 0 for his last 10 after starting off his ML career 2 for 3. I could see him getting a day off tomorrow, especially with Presley hitting the past two games.
Pirates trade Triple-A Indy INF Brian Friday to #Braves for player to be named or cash.
— Rob Biertempfel (@BiertempfelTrib) July 28, 2012
This is a pretty obvious depth move. The Pirates have quite a few Triple-A middle infield types and Brian Friday was the odd man out. The Pirates’ 2007 3rd round pick was hitting just .232/.324/.304 in 194 at-bats in what is his third year in Indianapolis.
The player to be named later in the deal is OF Christian Marrero. Marrero, 26, will report to Indianapolis after hitting .248/.352/.392 in 222 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A this year in Atlanta’s organization. He’s not exactly a “prospect” anymore and is clearly just an organizational type.
Final: Pirates 6, Astros 5
That was a wild and crazy game.
The Astros started things off with three straight hits to lead off the second inning that ultimately led to them jumping out to a 2-0 lead. Chris Johnson then hit a solo home run in the third. Johnson finished with a stellar day at the plate, going 3 for 4 with a single shy of the cycle.
In the fifth inning, Pedro Alvarez led off with a single. Then, Michael McKenry deposited a line drive into the left field seats for a two-run homer to cut the Astros lead to 4-3. McKenry also led off the seventh with a double and later scored on a Josh Harrison sacrifice fly to tie the game up at four.
The Astros, though, didn’t let up, scoring a run off Jared Hughes in the seventh, thanks to a lead off triple by Johnson.
But McKenry wasn’t done. With one out in the ninth, he singled to left field before giving way to pinch-runner, Jordy Mercer. Drew Sutton and Casey McGehee then drew back-to-back pinch-hit walks to load up the bases. Starling Marte then hit a 1-0 pitch to deep center field to score Mercer to tie up the game. Drew Sutton then scored from third base thanks to a wild pitch by Xavier Cedeno to give the Pirates the lead. It was a pretty crazy inning.
Joel Hanrahan was able to finish things off with his 31st save, but did allow a single and a stolen base to make things interesting.
Andrew McCutchen went 2 for 4 with two doubles. They were his first extra base hits in nine games as he had been on a “mini slump.” That’s if you count a .348 average over his last seven games a slump…