Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) – Paul Maholm turned in a quality start and Chase d’Arnaud scored a pair of runs as the Pittsburgh Pirates downed the Houston Astros, 5-3, in the opener of a three-game set.
Maholm (5-9) lasted six innings, allowing three runs — one earned — on five hits and three walks while striking out three.
D’Arnaud went 2-for-5 and crossed the plate with the eventual game-winner in the fifth on a Neil Walker single. Alex Presley added an RBI and finished 3- for-4 with a triple.
Joel Hanrahan threw a perfect ninth to record his 25th consecutive save this season.
Brett Myers (3-8) surrendered a career-high 13 hits and allowed five runs — four earned — over six innings.
Carlos Lee had a pair of RBI for the Astros, who have dropped 12 of their last 14
In the first, consecutive one-out singles by Jeff Keppinger and Hunter Pence placed runners at the corners, before Lee’s sac fly gave Houston a 1-0 lead.
The advantage was fleeting, as Lyle Overbay, Josh Harrison and Michael McKenry ripped successive singles in the second to tie the game.
After a Maholm strikeout, Presley singled to right, but Carlos Corporan caught Pence’s strong throw and aptly blocked the plate to retire the sliding Harrison.
Shaken up on the play, Harrison was later removed due to dizziness, but not before he made a pair of costly gaffes the next half-inning.
After a Keppinger one-out single, Harrison misplayed a Pence grounder, allowing both runners to reach safely. Lee then placed an RBI single up the middle.
Another error by Harrison, this time an errant throw to first on a Matt Downs grounder, allowed Pence to cross the plate, giving the Astros a 3-1 lead.
In the home half of the third, d’Arnaud and Andrew McCutchen sandwiched a pair of doubles around a Garrett Jones groundout to cut the deficit to one.
Two batters later, Overbay singled up the middle to even things up.
D’Arnaud got things going in the fifth, reaching with a leadoff single, then advancing to second and third on Jones’ single and McCtuchen’s fly out.
Walker’s single to right plated d’Arnaud, giving the Pirates their first lead of the game.
They extended that lead in the sixth as Brandon Wood, who reached on a Downs error, crossed the plate courtesy of Presley’s triple.
The Astros had threatened significantly a half-inning earlier, placing runners on second and third with one down, but Downs was cut down trying to score on Brett Myers’ grounder to d’Arnaud and Michael Bourn went down on strikes.
Hanrahan will represent the Pirates in the All-Star Game, while the Pence made the NL roster as a reserve…The Pirates have won five straight over the Astros…Entering Monday, the Pirates were 1.5 games out of first place in the NL central, marking the closest they have been to first this late in the season since July 21, 1997…Hanrahan tied Mike Williams’ club record for most saves before the All-Star break and bested Mike Gonzalez’s Pirates record for most consecutive saves without a blown save.