Astros hold off Pirates 5-4
Head back home after successful 5-2 trip

Giles, Gattis celebrate win
(c) Associated Press

The Astros rallied for five early runs against Pirates' ace Gerrit Cole and hung on for a 5-4 win in Pittsburgh Wednesday afternoon. Collin McHugh posted his first victory since July 23, pitching five innings and allowing three runs on seven hits.

Evan Gattis got the scoring started with a 2-run homer to straight-away centerfield in the second inning. Evan's 20th blast of the year brought home Carlos Correa, who led off the inning with a single up the middle.

The Pirates closed the gap to 2-1 in the third when Jordy Mercer belted a McHugh curveball into the seats for his ninth homer of the season. The Astros got that run back in their next at-bat. Correa singled again and rode home on a triple off the bat of Marwin Gonzalez.

Cole ran into more trouble in the fifth, serving up a single to George Springer and a double to Alex Bregman to start the innning. Jose Altuve's fly ball to rightfield brought Springer home with run number four and advanced Bregman to third. Correa followed with another sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 5-1.

The Pirates came back strong in the bottom of the inning. Mercer singled up the middle to get things started and John Jaso, pinch-hitting for Cole, lined a single to leftfield to put runners at first and second. After Josh Harrison bunted the runners over, McHugh struck out Matt Joyce. But the third out of the inning proved more elusive for Collin as singles by Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco cut the lead to 5-3.

Both skippers turned the ball over to the bullpen in the sixth and the offense slowed down for the rest of the afternoon. Pittsburgh scored a run off Chris Devenski in the seventh when Polanco drove in Joyce with a 2-out triple to rightfield. But Chris was able to strand Polanco at third and the Pirates couldn't mount another threat over the last two innings against Will Harris and Ken Giles.

Giles notched his fifth save of the season -- thanks in part to an incredible defensive play by Correa. Joyce led off the ninth with a line drive that nearly decapitated Giles but Correa made a spectacular diving catch to record the out. Giles then struck out Marte and Polanco to seal the game, giving the Astros a series win and a 5-2 record for the road trip.

The Astros head back home to enjoy a day off on Thursday before finishing out the month of August with a 6-game homestand against the Rays and the Athletics. Mike Fiers gets the start in Friday night's 7:10 opener against Tampa Bay.

- Greg Thurston