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'Stros Knock Out Second Straight Series Sweep Over Pirates 8-2

Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Hunter Pence recorded his second straight three-hit game, scored three runs and knocked in another, helping Houston get past Pittsburgh, 8-2, to complete a three-game sweep and a perfect home record against its downtrodden National League Central foe.

The lowly Pirates have dropped seven straight overall, 10 consecutive on the road and went winless in nine trips to Minute Maid Park this season.

Chris Johnson went 3-for-4 with a solo home run, while Pedro Feliz had a pinch-hit, two-run double during a four-run sixth inning for the Astros, who had lost six of seven coming into the series.

J.A. Happ (3-1) was the recipient of the support and allowed two runs on three hits and four walks, fanning five over six innings.

"I'm going to continue to work on reps and try to get comfortable with my delivery so I can get into that seventh and eighth inning," Happ said.

Pittsburgh's Jeff Karstens (2-9) failed to pick up a win for a 10th straight start, yielding five runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 frames.

"I thought I threw the ball well, but it's not how you finish, it's how you start," said a frustrated Karstens.

Lastings Milledge's RBI single and Chris Snyder's sacrifice fly in the fourth inning gave the Pirates a 2-1 lead, but Houston went ahead for good two frames later.

Pence doubled leading off and eventually scored on a Jeff Keppinger sac fly to right. Karstens was pulled after putting the next two hitters on and surrendering a go-ahead RBI single to Jason Castro. Feliz then greeted Sean Gallagher with a two-run double to the left-field gap for a 5-2 edge.

Pence doubled home Angel Sanchez in the seventh and scored on another Keppinger flyout later in the inning.

Johnson's solo homer in the eighth accounted for the final margin.

Houston scored the game's first run in the third frame when Pence singled with two outs, stole second and came around on Carlos Lee's base hit up the middle.

This is the third time the Astros have gone 9-0 against an opponent at home (Atlanta, 1990; Cincinnati, 1966)...Happ came into the game having allowed one run in 17 1/3 career innings at Minute Maid Park...Houston leads the season series, 10-2.

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