After a successful weekend series in St Louis, the the Pittsburgh Pirates returned home to take the opening game of their series against the Houston Astros in an 11-2 blowout. It was a bit of a slow start but the Bucs' offense busted out against Jordan Lyles for two huge back-to-back innings. It was the heart of the order who did plenty of damage on Monday night with both Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones coming through with four-hit performances. Jones finished with four RBIs and a late two-run double by Neil Walker finished his evening with three RBIs.
A four-run fourth and a four-run fifth quickly put this one out of reach. Jones started the scoring with a two-run shot to right that gave the Bucs their first lead of the game. Walker then strode into the box and made it back-to-back for the Bucs, taking another Lyles offering over the right field wall. Casey McGehee followed with a third straight extra base hit, doubling to deep right and Clint Barmes promptly knocked him in -- the rout was on.
But the Bucs weren't done there, quickly coming back in the bottom of the fifth with three more extra base hits to chase Lyles. Drew Sutton led off with a triple and two straight doubles by McCutchen and Jones ended the Houston starter's night. Reliever Rhiner Cruz yielded a double to McGehee that brought home Jones and Walker and pushed the lead to 8-1.
Starter James McDonald was not his sharpest, issuing five walks, but he avoided the damage and allowed just two runs in seven innings of work. McDonald gave up just four hits to ensure the walks did not come back to bite him and the offensive outburst ensured his eighth win of the season.
A.J. Burnett will take the hill in the second game of the four-game series on Tuesday night while Lucas Harrell will go for the 'Stros.
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