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Astros Vs. Pirates: James McDonald's Strong Outing Keys 3-1 Win

James McDonald pitched 7.1 strong innings as the Pirates defeated the last-place Astros.

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 05:  James McDonald #53 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the Houston Astros during the game on September 5, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 05: James McDonald #53 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the Houston Astros during the game on September 5, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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James McDonald doesn't usually pitch seven innings, but the Pirates used 7.1 good ones from him to defeat the Houston Astros 3-1 on Monday afternoon at PNC Park.

McDonald had six strikeouts and allowed three hits, three walks and a run. That run came in the third when he walked opposing pitcher Henry Sosa, and Jose Altuve hit a triple to the right-field wall.

The Pirates, though, took a two-run lead in the fourth on an RBI double by Ryan Doumit and an up-the-middle RBI single by Josh Harrison. They added another in the eighth on a solo homer by Derrek Lee.

Joel Hanrahan picked up his 35th save of the season despite loading the bases in the ninth.

The Pirates are now 65-76, four games behind the Cincinnati Reds for third place in the NL Central. The Astros have lost four in a row and are 47-94.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.