Brandon Wood didn’t quit on what turned out to be the final play in the 5-4 Pirates victory at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
The Pirates’ third baseman attempted to field a sharp grounder at his corner position off of 265-pound Carlos Lee’s bat, yet found himself sprinting to shortstop after the ball deflected off his glove and left arm.
Wood barehanded the ball at shortstop, while spinning, to make the throw to first baseman Lyle Overbay for the third out in the bottom of the ninth. The Astros’ were threatening to tie the game at five apiece with a runner in scoring position.
With Wood completing the third out of the ninth, the Pirates defeated Houston three consecutive days, marking their first three-game series sweep of the season. Pittsburgh has been on a roll lately, winning four straight games and five of its past six.
The Pirates (35-33) haven’t been two games over .500 since July 2, 1999.
Garrett Jones’ three-run homerun to right field put the Bucs ahead in the first inning, scoring Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutchen. But Astros starter Jordan Lyles retired the next 15 batters after Jones’ seventh homer of the season.
Houston tied the game in the fifth, 3-3, on a fly ball by right fielder Hunter Pence to Pirates left fielder Jose Tabata, which scored Astros center fielder Michael Bourn.
With two outs in the sixth, McCutchen smacked a sharp liner to Bourn for a single. Second baseman Neil Walker advanced McCutchen to second on a line drive to center. After getting in some trouble, Lyles was replaced by Astros pitcher Sergio Escalona. McCutchen scored after Bourn’s fielding error off of Jones. Josh Harrison kept two-out scoring alive on a double to right, scoring Walker.
Pirates starter James McDonald picked up his fifth victory of the season and allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings. McDonald walked four, one intention, while striking out four.