Musgrove struggles in 7-1 Astros loss

Polanco blasts 2 HRs in rout
(c) Associated Press

A pair of 4-game streaks came to an end Tuesday night at PNC Park as the Pirates pummelled Joe Musgrove and the Astros 7-1.

Starting pitching was key in this lopsided affair that was pretty much over shortly after it started. Musgrove gave up six consecutive hits to start the bottom of the first inning, resulting in an immediate 4-0 deficit for Houston. Ivan Nova went the distance for the Buccos, allowing the Astros only six hits in the entire game.

Musgrove suffered his second straight loss, thanks again to a catastrophic first inning. Although he eventually stopped the bleeding and logged a few solid innings in both starts, concern has to be growing among the Astros braintrust whether the rookie should remain in the starting rotation.

The offense never got on track against Nova. Marwin Gonzalez seemed to be the only Astro that could figure out the big right-hander that was acquired from the Yankees at the trade deadline. Gonzalez had three of Houston's six hits and the Astros didn't score until Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve put together back-to-back doubles in the ninth inning.

Gregory Polanco led the Pirate uprising with three hits, including two home runs, and three RBIs. Matt Joyce contributed two hits and scored a pair of runs.

The Astros won't have much time to dwell on the defeat, as the finale of the 3-game set is slated to begin at 11:35 CDT Wednesday morning. Collin McHugh looks to bounce back from a rough outing of his own when he takes the mound against Gerrit "I deserve a raise" Cole.

- Greg Thurston