PITTSBURGH - JULY 05: Jeff Karstens #27 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the Houston Astros during the game on July 5, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Astros Vs. Pirates: Jeff Karstens, Bucs Win Again

Jeff Karstens' latest win propelled the Pirates into sole possession of second place in the NL Central.

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Astros Vs. Pirates: Jeff Karstens, Bucs Win Again

The Pirates are now 45-41 after a 5-1  victory over the Houston Astros, and their win and the Brewers' loss puts the Bucs in sole possession of second place in the NL Central. 

Jeff Karstens pitched seven strong innings for the win, allowing a solo homer by Clint Barmes but little else. Karstens has allowed 17 home runs this season, but the Barmes homer was typical in that it was a solo job - Karstens challenges hitters when there's no one on.

Brandon Wood had a two-run homer and an RBI single for the Pirates, who also scored twice in the sixth, with an RBI single by Michael McKenry and a sacrifice by Karstens. 

Wandy Rodriguez took the loss for the Astros, who, in a curious coincidence, also used Fernando Rodriguez and Aneury Rodriguez in relief.

Matt Diaz, Neil Walker and Lyle Overbay all had multi-hit games for the Pirates. 

The Pirates will look to complete a sweep of the Astros at 7:05 PM Wednesday.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.

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