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Astros 6, Pirates 4: Bucs' Offense Sputters Against Russ Ortiz

The Bucs allowed six runs today, but they at least looked interesting. Ian Snell probably earned another start with six innings and only three runs, although he allowed four singles and four doubles and generally looked like he narrowly avoided disaster. Three more runs were charged to Steven Jackson and Jesse Chavez, but I'll just chalk that up to being one of those things--even good relievers allow runs sometimes, and the more I watch Jackson and Chavez the more I think they really can be good relievers. Jackson got himself into trouble with walks, but he flashed an excellent splitter. And Chavez's stuff looked as good as I've ever seen it: his fastball touched 97 on FSN's radar gun, and he struck out Jeff Keppinger with an 89 MPH slider.

Andrew McCutchen had three hits, meanwhile, but the rest of the Pirates' hitters continued their unfortunate trend of struggling against pitchers they should be destroying. Starter Felipe Paulino left the game in the second with some sort of groin issue, so Russ Ortiz came on and pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings, walking one batter and scattering four singles. Ortiz is terrible and has been for years, and yet this isn't the first time in the past few years that he's shut them down for a long stretch. After Ortiz left the game, the Pirates did manage to start rallies in the seventh and ninth, but Adam LaRoche grounded into a double play with the bases loaded in the seventh, and Freddy Sanchez fouled out to end the game in the ninth.