PITTSBURGH (AP) – Ivan Nova took a shutout into the ninth inning and finished with a six-hitter while Gregory Polanco hit two home runs to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 7-1 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.
Nova (10-6) struck out six, walked one and threw 69 of his 98 pitches for strikes while improving to 3-0 in four starts since being acquired from the New York Yankees in an Aug. 1 trade.
It was the fourth complete game of the right-hander’s seven-year career with the others coming in 2013.
His bid for his third career shutout ended when Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve led off the ninth with consecutive doubles.
Pittsburgh snapped its four-game losing streak and stopped Houston’s four-game winning streak. Both teams entered 3 1/2 games out of the second wild card in their respective leagues.
After the Pirates scored four runs in the first inning, Polanco hit solo shots in the third and fifth off Joe Musgrove and Tony Sipp to extend the lead to 6-0 and raise his season total to a team-high 19 homers.
It was Polanco’s second two-home run game of his three-year career. The other was July 4 at St. Louis.
The Pirates opened the first inning with six straight hits off Musgrove (1-2). Matt Joyce and Andrew McCutchen hit consecutive RBI doubles then Polanco and rookie Josh Bell drove in runs with singles.
Polanco had three of the Pirates’ 11 hits while driving in three runs and scoring three times. Joyce and Bell added two hits each.
The Astros’ Marwin Gonzalez had three hits.
Musgrove, a rookie making his fourth career start, was rocked for five runs and eight hits in four innings with two strikeouts and no walks. He has allowed a combined 13 runs in 9 1/3 innings while losing his last two starts.
The Pirates’ final run scored on a throwing error by Bregman, a rookie shortstop, in the seventh inning.
Astros: 3B Luis Valbuena will undergo surgery in the next few days to repair a torn tendon in his right hamstring. Out since July 27, Valbuena finishes the season hitting .260 with 13 home runs in 90 games. . OF Preston Tucker (strained right shoulder) will begin a rehab assignment Wednesday at Double-A Corpus Christi. . 3B/OF Yulieski Gurriel (right hamstring tightness) did not start for a second straight game after making his major league debut Sunday but is expected to be in the lineup Wednesday.
Astros: RHP Collin McHugh (7-10, 4.99 ERA) starts the finale of the three-game series Wednesday. He is 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA in his last five starts.
Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole (7-8, 3.30) is 0-2 with a 6.48 ERA in his last three starts.
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