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Astros Drop Another Game, Series, And Suffer Another Late Bullpen Meltdown

Final Score: Pittsburgh 5, Houston 4

Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Ryan Doumit's three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning rescued the Pittsburgh bullpen and lifted the Pirates to a 5-4 victory over Houston in the rubber match of a three-game series at PNC Park.

Pittsburgh starter James McDonald scattered three hits and walked two over six scoreless innings. The right-hander also equaled his career high with eight strikeouts, but didn't figure in the decision.

Chris Resop, who absorbed the loss on Friday, replaced McDonald in the seventh and for the second consecutive outing, failed to retire a batter. Chris Johnson led off the frame with a home run to left field. Bill Hall then singled and scored the tying run on a double by Humberto Quintero.

Joe Beimel succeeded the ineffective Resop and Angel Sanchez delivered an RBI bunt single to put the Astros up 3-2.

Houston tacked on another run in the eighth against Daniel McCutchen (1-0), as Brett Wallace plated Carlos Lee with a sacrifice fly. Lee reached on a double to lead off the inning. It appeared Andrew McCutchen made a sliding catch. However, the Pittsburgh center fielder was ruled to have trapped the ball. Lee ended up advancing to third on a botched pickoff attempt.

Fernando Abad (1-3) was called on to protect a two-run lead in the bottom of the frame, but couldn't complete the task. Neil Walker stroked a one-out single and Steve Pearce walked before Doumit launched a 1-0 pitch over the wall in left.

"Things were kind of spinning the wrong way and [Doumit] put a foot down and changed the direction of the game," said Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle.

Joel Hanrahan tossed a perfect ninth for his 10th save in as many chances this season.

Walker and Matt Diaz both had two hits for Pittsburgh, which evened its record through 34 games.

J.A. Happ gave up two runs on six hits and four walks in six full frames for the Astros, who have lost four of five.

"We're playing well right now. We just got to figure out a way to make sure that we get these wins in these close ball games. We're playing a lot of close ball games," Astros third baseman Chris Johnson said of their recent struggles.

The Pirates loaded the bases in the first and fourth innings, but were able to muster only one run both times on a Pearce sac fly and single by Ronny Cedeno.

McDonald got Wallace to ground into a fielder's choice to escape a bases- loaded jam in the sixth.

Game Notes

Houston right fielder Hunter Pence extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a two-out single in the first inning...Pittsburgh has now outscored opponents 26-16 in the opening frame this season...The Astros placed outfielder Jason Bourgeois on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with a strained left oblique and recalled infielder/outfielder Joe Inglett from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.