Pirates hammer Astros
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - A.J. Burnett tossed eight outstanding innings as the Pittsburgh Pirates snapped a five-game slide with an 8-1 thumping of the Houston Astros in the finale of a three-game series at Minute Maid Park.
Burnett (16-8) allowed one run on four hits while striking out 11 to snap a six-start winless run. Chad Qualls worked a perfect ninth to finish off a badly needed win for the Pirates, who are just 5-16 in September.
Josh Harrison went 4-for-6 with two runs scored, while Jose Tabata drove in two runs and Gaby Sanchez finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
Jordan Lyles (4-12) was knocked around for three runs on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts over four-plus innings for the Astros, who had their two- game winning streak snapped.
Scott Moore accounted for Houston's lone run with a home run.
After leaving runners in scoring position in the third and fourth innings, the Pirates finally broke a scoreless deadlock with four runs in the fifth.
Alex Presley began the frame with a base hit to right field, Harrison followed with a single and Andrew McCutchen walked to load the bags with no outs. Pinch-hitter Sanchez was plunked by Wesley Wright, forcing in Presley for a 1-0 Bucs lead.
Mickey Storey took over on the mound two batters later for Houston and walked pinch-hitter Tabata to force in a second run. Clint Barmes then ripped a base hit into left, scoring McCutchen.
Rod Barajas capped the inning with a single into left field, plating Sanchez for the four-run cushion.
An RBI double to left by McCutchen in the sixth made it a 5-0 game, but Moore got the run back in the bottom half when he ripped a fastball from Burnett deep over the wall in right-center field.
Sanchez clubbed a one-out double in the Pittsburgh eighth and came around to score on a single by Pedro Alvarez. Tabata smacked an RBI single up the middle and Burnett helped his own cause with an RBI base hit to right field later in the inning to finish the rout.
In 11 lifetime starts against Houston, Burnett is 4-5 ... With the loss, the Astros now have gone 108 games without winning three straight. They last accomplished the feat after winning four straight from May 21-25 ... Houston went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left four on base.