The Pirates lost 3-2 to the Astros at PNC Park Friday night, thanks in part to an awful decision by Clint Hurdle to have one of the team's best hitters, Andrew McCutchen, bunt in a crucial situation.
Paul Maholm pitched seven solid innings for the Pirates, only allowing one run in seven innings, on a sacrifice fly by Hunter Pence in the first. The Bucs took a 2-1 lead into the eighth thanks to an RBI double by Brandon Wood and a solo homer by Neil Walker.
In the eighth, however, a leadoff walk by Chris Resop to Michael Bourn proved costly, as Pence drove Bourn home on a double and Carlos Lee tacked on an RBI single. In the bottom of the inning, Xavier Paul led off with a walk, but Hurdle had McCutchen bunt him over, dubiously sacrificing an out for an opportunity. The Astros got Jose Tabata to ground out, then brought in lefty Fernando Abad to neutralize pinch-hitter Garrett Jones, who can't hit lefties. All in all, it was a pretty easy inning for the Astros, and it shouldn't have been. Even if the Pirates had scored the one run they were playing for, there was still another inning for the Astros to tack on more offense.
Mark Melancon picked up the save with a scoreless ninth for the Astros.