The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

May 18, 2013

Astros beat Bucs in extra innings

PITTSBURGH — Jason Castro led off the 11th inning with a double and scored the go-ahead run on a close play at the plate as the Houston Astros topped the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2 on Saturday night.

Castro doubled off the top of the center-field fence against Bryan Morris (1-2), and Carlos Pena was intentionally walked one out later. The runners moved up on a wild pitch and Castro scored when he beat second baseman Neil Walker's throw home on Matt Dominguez's fielder's choice grounder.

Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle argued the call with plate umpire C.B. Bucknor and was ejected. Pinch-hitter J.D. Martinez followed with an RBI single to make it 4-2.

Rookie Jose Cisnero struck out five in 3 2-3 scoreless relief innings for his first major league win. Jose Veras pitched a scoreless 11th for his sixth save as Houston won for the second time in three games since losing six in a row.

Chris Carter's run-scoring single in the eighth inning tied the game at 2 and ended Mark Melancon's string of 13 consecutive scoreless relief appearances, covering 13 innings.

Houston's Jose Altuve had three hits to raise his batting average to .342 after being activated from the bereavement list before the game. Altuve missed three games after his grandmother died in his native Venezuela.

Andrew McCutchen hit two doubles and Brandon Inge had two hits for Pittsburgh, which lost for the second time in nine games.

Pittsburgh starter A.J. Burnett held Houston to one run in seven innings while allowing five hits and four walks, but wound up with a no-decision when Melancon could not hold the lead. Burnett struck out seven to raise his National League-leading total to 79. He has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his 10 starts this season.

The Astros' Erik Bedard gave up two runs and seven hits in six innings with three strikeouts and no walks in his first career start against Pittsburgh. The veteran left-hander was the Pirates' opening day starter last season, but was released on Aug. 30 after going 8-14.

Inge put Pittsburgh in front 2-1 in the sixth when he hit a two-out RBI single to left field off Bedard.

The Pirates scored the game's first run on consecutive doubles by McCutchen and Gaby Sanchez with two outs in the first inning.

Houston tied in the fifth when Altuve delivered a two-out RBI single.

Notes: Houston INF Jake Elmore was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room on the roster for Altuve. ... Pirates RHP Jeff Karstens (right shoulder inflammation) allowed two unearned runs in four innings Saturday night for Double-A Altoona in a rehab start at Richmond in the Eastern League. ... The three-game series concludes today.

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