The Pittsburgh Pirates got off to a fast start Thursday night, adding five runs over the course of the first two innings -- all coming off home runs. That would prove to be enough in their series opener against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park, the first of a four-game weekend series. Pittsburgh grabbed a 5-2 win, their seventh in their last nine games.
The Pirates' trio of first and second inning homers all came off the bats of Starling Marte, Garrett Jones and Clint Barmes. Jones and Barmes' were each two-run shots.
Meanwhile, A.J. Burnett continued his strong performance this season, improving to 12-3 after lasting seven and one-third innings, striking out five and giving up two runs. Closer Joel Hanrahan would come on for the ninth to record the save.
Marte, the rookie outfielder, was making his highly-anticipated big-league debut and didn't disappoint. The Dominican Republic native went 2-for-4 at the plate, including his first inning homer and a single in the fifth.
With the win, Pittsburgh is now two games back of the Cincinnati Reds in the N.L. Central standings.