The Pirates put a bunch of runners on base in the bottom of the sixth inning and in doing so, chased Cardinals starter Joe Kelly. Andrew McCutchen led off the inning with a walk. Following a lazy fly out by Justin Morneau, Marlon Byrd continued his torrid hitting with a double to left, putting runners on second and third with one out. With Pedro Alvarez coming to the plate, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny ordered the intentional walk to load the bases before pulling Kelly for reliever Seth Maness.
Russell Martin swung at the first pitch he saw from Maness, a 91 MPH sinker, driving a high fly ball to center fielder Jon Jay. McCutchen scored easily, putting the Pirates up 3-2 with two outs in the sixth. Jose Tabata, pinch-hitting for Clint Barmes, grounded out to end the inning. As part of a double-switch, Jordy Mercer came in at shortstop in the nine-spot in the lineup.
Pirates starter Francisco Liriano did not take the hill in the seventh, having thrown 101 pitches. Reliever Tony Watson entered in the eight-spot in the lineup.
The Red Sox salvaged the final game of their three-game home series against the Astros, winning 4-3 on Sunday afternoon. In doing so, they ended the Astros’ 10-game winning streak.
Xander Bogaerts struck the decisive blow, knocking in a run with a double in the seventh inning to break a 3-3 tie. Michael Chavis also hit another homer — his eighth of the season — while Mookie Betts collected three hits and scored three runs to raise his OPS to .899.
The Astros last lost on May 7 against the Royals, the second game of a three-game series. The Astros won the final game of that set, then swept the Rangers in a four-game series, the Tigers in three, and won the first two games against the Red Sox. It’s their second 10-game winning streak of the season, as they won 10 striaght between April 5-16, sweeping the Athletics, Yankees, and Mariners before losing the second of two games against the A’s in Oakland.
At 31-16, the Astros are slightly behind the Twins — in progress as of this writing — for the best winning percentage in the majors. The Red Sox, meanwhile, have made up some ground after ending April 13-17. They’re now 24-22, good for third place in the AL East.