PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — The Pirates started out strong, but a sixth inning meltdown by Charlie Morton contributed to the team’s 8-2 loss to the Houston Astros.
The Buccos (45-42) are still three games above .500 and they are just one win away from a guaranteed winning record at the All-Star Break.
Morton (7-5) pitched five and 1/3 innings and struck out six. Charged with five runs – four earned – and eight hits, his ERA rose to 3.80.
Morton limited Houston to three hits over the first five innings, seven of the eight batters who faced him in the sixth reached.
The Astros did not get to him until the sixth, when they had six hits and benefited from two errors.
Angel Sanchez, Carlos Lee, Jeff Keppinger and Clint Barmes also had RBI hits in the inning.
The five runs Houston scored in that inning matched what it had in the previous three games combined.
The Astros added three runs in the ninth.
Bud Norris (5-6) allowed two runs over seven innings to win for the first time in five starts.
Andrew McCutchen had 2 RBIs. The first came at the bottom of the first on a line drive to left field. The second came on a grounder in the sixth.
The Pirates put two men on with one out in the seventh, but pinch-hitter Xavier Paul popped out and Presley’s liner to deep center that could have made it a one-run game was run down by Bourn.