Wednesday night, with the Pirates up 8-2 in the top of the ninth, Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch threw in the towel, calling on first baseman Tyler White for mop up duties on the mound. Despite it being White’s fourth pitching appearance of the season, he had a hard time finding home plate. Of the ten batters he faced, four walked, two doubled and two hit long home runs.
Facing Brad Peacock on Thursday afternoon, the Pirates picked right up where they left off, as shortstop Kevin Newman hit the first pitch of the game deep to left field the fourth long ball of his major league career, and second in two pitches.
Before they were done, the Pirates had blasted a total of five home runs in the game, including the first ever in the big leagues for catcher Jacob Stallings.
Behind former Astro Joe Musgrove, facing his old team for the first time, the Pirates rolled to an easy 10-0 victory, scoring double digit runs against the Astros in consecutive games in the same season for the first time ever. It is also the first time this year that Houston has lost a series at home, dropping two of three games to the Pirates.
Musgrove fired strikes over six easy innings, scattering nine singles without a walk as he struck out five.
After Newman opened the game with his homer, the Pirates piled on three more run in the opening frame. Bryan Reynolds, remarkably the only Pirate without a hit, walked, Colin Moran lined an RBI double to left center and Corey Dickerson snuck one over the short fence down the left field line for a two-run homer.
In the third, Josh Bell went 445 feet to the opposite field to drive in Starling Marte and make the score 5-0. It was his 22nd homer of the year.
Cy Sneed came on in the fourth for Houston, making his major league debut, but in his second inning of work Starling Marte, now with twelve home runs, took him deep to left and Stallings repeated the feat in the seventh.
Michael Feliz, Clay Holmes and Geoff Hartlieb worked one impressive inning each to close out the game for the Pirates, who have cut 22 off their run differential in just the last two games.
The Pirates now have a record of 38-41, good for fourth place in the division, 5.0 games behind the Cubs and 1.5 ahead of the last place Reds.
Friday they will travel to Milwaukee for an 8:10 p.m. Eastern start, with Chris Archer (3-6, 5.56) scheduled to face the Brewers’ right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (3-8, 5.88)