Some questions from tonight's game: Is Clint Hurdle a mad genius of sorts for calling the suicide squeeze with Jeff Karstens up and Lyle Overbay breaking from third in the middle of the count? Or did the Astros just get Hurdled? Who would want one of those wind-up Pierogies?(Give me the Chuck Tanner floppy hat any day over that, disclaimer: one size fits none). Brandon Wood hit a two-run homer and had 3 RBI's? Really, Brandon Wood did? How is it that Jeff Karstens, a guy who couldn't crack the Buccos' rotation to start the season, has a 2.55 ERA and 7 wins? Mike McKenry couldn't buy a major league RBI, now he has one in 3 straight games? Everyone knows the Pirates' bottom of the order is abysmal, so the 7 hitter Wood has a .211 average, the 8 hitter McKenry is hitting .218 and Karstens brings up the caboose at .111. So what did they do tonight? Just combined to account for all 5 RBI's for the Bucs. Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2011 Pittsburgh Pirates. Last question, can we get the Astros on the schedule about 40 more times this season?
Karen Price has more:
The Pirates moved one game closer to guaranteeing a winning record heading into the All-Star break with a 5-1 victory over the Houston Astros tonight.
With four games left before the Midsummer Classic, the Pirates are now 45-41 and, at the very least, can finish no worse than .500 heading into the break. One more victory, and it will be the first time they go into the break with a winning record since 1992, when they were 49-39.
Right-hander Jeff Karstens extended his career-high winning streak to four games and walked off the field to a standing ovation, as he improved to 7-4 overall and 4-1 at PNC Park. The only run he allowed through seven-plus innings was a solo home run to Clint Barmes in the fifth inning, making it three runs allowed in his last two starts, all on solo home runs.
His ERA also dropped from 2.65 to 2.55, which ranks 10th in the majors among all qualified starters.
Third baseman Brandon Wood hit a two-run home run to right-center field in the second inning then knocked in another run with a two-out single in the fourth in front of 18,151 at PNC Park.
The Pirates added two more runs in the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly from Michael McKenry and a squeeze play with Karstens bunting to take a four-run lead into the seventh inning.