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Pirates 5, Astros 4

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PITTSBURGH - In a season in which little has gone right for the Houston Astros, they suffered yet another difficult loss Friday night.

Right fielder Jimmy Paredes dropped Russell Martin's two-out fly ball with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied for a 5-4 victory at PNC Park. The ball got jarred loose when second baseman Jake Elmore backed into Paredes.

Slumping Pittsburgh third baseman Pedro Alvarez hit a long two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning off Hector Ambriz to tie the score at 4-4. The drive was estimated at 462 feet as it cleared the right-field stands and went into the Allegheny River on one hop.

A night earlier, Pirates right fielder Travis Snider hit a 458-foot homer against Milwaukee that rolled into the river. Alvarez had gone 6-for-35 in the previous 10 games.

Starling Marte led off the ninth with a single off Edgar Gonzalez (0-1), but he was forced at second. A line single by Andrew McCutchen put runners at first and third and Gonzalez then blew a chance to start an inning-ending double play when he dropped Brandon Inge's comebacker.

With the bases loaded, Neil Walker struck out looking on a 3-2 pitch but then the Astros misplayed Martin's ball as they lost for the seventh time in eight games. They have the worst record in the major leagues at 11-31.

The Pirates won for the seventh time in their last eight games and moved a season-high eight games oer .500 at 25-17.

McCutchen had three hits and a home run for Pittsburgh and Martin and Alvarez had two hits each. Justin Wilson (4-0) worked a scoreless ninth for the win.

Matt Dominquez homered for Houston.

Houston starter Jordan Lyles remained winless against Pittsburgh in six career starts despite holding the Pirates to two runs - one earned - in five innings. Lyles is 0-4 with a 6.75 ERA versus the Pirates.

Pirates starter Jeanmar Gomez gave up four runs -- three earne -- and five hits in 4 2/3 innings. He had gone 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his first three starts after beginning the season in long relief.

The Pirates scored a run in the sixth to get within 4-2 when right fielder Chris Carter, normally the Astros' designated hitter, dropped McCutchen's fly ball for a three-base error and Garrett Jones followed with a double. DH rule was not in effect with the game being played in an NL ballpark.

Dominguez's solo shot off into the left-field bleachers off Gomez in the fifth started a three-run inning that enabled Houston to move in front 4-1. Elmore had an RBI single and a run scored on a throwing error by Walker, the second baseman.

The Astros pulled ahead 4-1 with a three-run fifth that include two errors on the same play by Pittsburgh.

Matt Dominguez hit a solo home run, his third homer of the season, into the left-field bleachers to put Houston on top 2-1.

Marwin Gonzalez then singled and was bunted to second by Lyles. Robbie Grossman walked and Jake Elmore drove in Gonzalez with a single.

Elmore attempted a stolen base and was safe when shortstop Clint Barmes dropped catcher Russell Martin's throw for an error. Grossman took off from third and scored when second baseman Neil Walker's throw to the plate was wild for a second error.

Grossman led off the game with a double that rolled to the 410-foot notch in left-center field, moved to third on Elmore's sacrifice bunt and scored on Jason Castro's sacrifice fly. Grossman was one of three prospects traded by the Pirates to the Astros last July for left-hander Wandy Rodriguez.

McCutchen answered in the bottom of the first with a solo home run to center field, his sixth homer of the season, off Lyles, to draw Pittsburgh into a 1-1 tie.

NOTES: Houston manager Bo Porter decided to give Bud Norris two extra days off before his next scheduled start. The right-hander will pitch May 21 against Kansas City instead of Sunday at Pittsburgh. Norris left his previous start on Tuesday at Detroit with lower back spasms while warming up for the sixth inning. Right-hander Lucas Harrell will pitch Sunday against the Pirates and left-hander Dallas Keuchel will start Monday against the Royals, both moving up one spot in the rotation and pitching on the normal four days of rest. ... Astros second baseman Jose Altuve will be activated from the bereavement list before Saturday night's game with the Pirates and Elmore is expected to be optioned back to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Elmore started all three games at second base after being called up Tuesday when Altuve was placed on the bereavement list. ... Pittsburgh placed right-handed reliever Jose Contreras on the bereavement list and recalled right-hander Jared Hughes from Triple-A Indianapolis. ... Houston left-hander Erik Bedard (0-2, 6.670 will face A.J. Burnett (3-4, 2.73) on Saturday night. Bedard was the Pirates' opening-day starter last season and Burnett had the honors this season. Pittsburgh released Bedard last Aug. 30.
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