Minute Maid Park | 7:05 | Morris vs. Wandy Rodriguez | Box
The Pirates jumped on Wandy Rodriguez. But the Astros returned the favor and jumped on Matt Morris even harder. The Pirates spotted Morris a five to nil lead thanks mostly to Ronny Paulino’s four RBI. But Houston batted around in putting up seven runs in the fourth innings. Carlos Lee led off the inning with a solo homer and capped the frame with a two run single.
After falling down 9-5, the Pirates pulled back into it late with a two run homer from Jack Wilson. His second of the game, making this his first career multi-HR contest. It wasn’t enough as the Pirates managed just three hits against a squadron of six Astros relievers after Rodriguez was pulled. Brad Lidge recorded the final three outs for the save. The winner was Juan Gutierrez, who was making just his fifth career appearance.
Jason Bay returned to action. He was hitless in five PA. He was HBP once and scored and also drew a walk. Xavier Nady was also back. He was 0-5 with three whiffs.
Zach Duke made his first relief appearance. He gave up two runs (one earned) in three innings. He allowed three hits and (surprise!) struck out no one.
AP recap at Yahoo! Sports
The Pirates are closer to 4th place than last place. He says, looking for a silver lining. Also, according to the AP Preview, Jason Bay and Xavier Nady have been cleared to play after missing some games with knee tendinitis and a concussion, respectively. The recap also states that Ian Snell was the winner last night. That’s not true.
Going for the win tonight is Matt Morris. In 8 starts with Pittsburgh, Morris has a mediocre 5.29 ERA. But, in testament to how the offense turned things on in August, his record in the Steel City is 2-2. In two starts against Houston in 2007, Morris is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA. He beat them on 8/25 in what was his best outing as a Pirate. For his career he is 12-10 with a 3.40 ERA against the Astros. That includes a 7-5 mark with a 3.23 ERA in Minute Maid.
Among current Astros, Carlos Lee (7-13 with two homers), Ty Wigginton (6-15) and Hunter Pence (3-5) have done well. The rest of the team spans from poor (Craig Biggio is 18-79) to about career average (Lance Berkman is 20-64 with two homers). Mike Lamb is just 6-25 but has hit three homers.
Wandy Rodriguez has been on or off recently. He’s dropped four of his last five decisions, but over those 8 starts, he has allowed two earned runs or less four times. The other four times he’s been hit pretty good. This’ll be his fourth start against the Pirates in 2007. He’s 0-2 and got a no decision on 8/26. His 2007 ERA vs. Pittsburgh is 5.82.
He has done well at home in 2007 – 6-3 with a 2.54 ERA. For his career he is 17-13 with a 4.37 at Minute Maid. All-time against the Bucs he is 2-3 with a 4.95 ERA. Jason Bay, as the AP preview noted, crushed Rodriguez. He is 10-19 with two homers, four doubles and 11 RBI. Freddy Sanchez is 6-15 with a homer. Adam LaRoche is 5-9. On the other side, Jose Bautista is 1-9 with five whiffs.