PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — The Pirates missed the mark, losing 3-2 to the Houston Astros on Friday night.
With the Bucs (15-17) just one game shy of .500 and coming off a winning road series against the San Diego Padres, hopes were high at PNC Park for the home team.
Paul Maholm (1-4, 3.68 ERA) allowed just five hits and one run over seven innings. He struck out four.
The Astros (13-19) scored first when Hunter Pence hit a sacrifice fly at the top of the first, batting in Jason Bourgeois.
Brandon Wood, in for Pedro Alvarez, doubled on a line drive to tie it with a run by Lyle Overbay.
The Pirates made it 2-1 when Neil Walker homered on a fly ball to left field in the seventh.
The first three batters of the eighth reached against a Pittsburgh bullpen that entered with the second-best ERA (2.63) in the National League, picking up two runs to take the win.
Mark Melancon worked a perfect ninth for his first major league save.