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Bullpen Blows Lead, Pirates Lose 6-4

(Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)

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HOUSTON (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Pirates watched a slim lead vanish in the eighth inning Saturday night against the Houston Astros.

Jose Veras came on to pitch the eighth with a 4-3 lead, but issued a leadoff walk to Hunter Pence. After advancing to second on a fielder’s choice, Pence stole third without a throw from Michael McKenry.

Brett Wallace followed with a chopper to shortstop Chase d’Arnaud, who fired a laser to home to try and cut down Pence at the plate.

Pence was deemed safe at home despite several television angles showing that McKenry appeared to tag him before he touched the plate.

Clint Barmes was up next and reached on a fielding error by Brandon Wood, giving the Astros runners on the corners with one out.

Humberto Quintero’s single to left field brought home the eventual game-winning run and ended Veras’ night.

Chris Leroux came on to pitch and got Matt Downs to pop out for the second out of the inning. However, Michael Bourn ripped a single to left that brought Barmes around to score to extend the lead to 6-4.

Mark Melancon was brought in to pitch the ninth and retired the Pirates in order to earn his seventh save of the season.

Paul Maholm (6-9, 3.06 ERA) allowed three runs on nine hits while walking one and striking out three in five innings of work.

Neil Walker, Lyle Overbay and Wood each hit solo home runs in the losing effort.

The Pirates and Astros will close out their three-game series Sunday afternoon at 2:05 p.m.

Kevin Correia (11-7, 4.01 ERA) is scheduled to take on Wandy Rodriguez (6-6, 3.52 ERA).

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