Pirates 5, Astros 4

All Jimmy Paredes was thinking about was catching the ball. Same

with Jake Elmore.

Not that concentration helped.

Russell Martin’s bases-loaded fly ball popped out Paredes’ glove

when he ran into the second baseman with two outs in the ninth

inning, and the second missed catch of the night by a Houston right

fielder helped the Pittsburgh Pirates rally past the Astros 5-4

Friday.

”I’m anticipating the ball being hit to me, just like I do on

every pitch,” Paredes said. ”All I’m thinking about is catching

the ball for the third out. That’s all I wanted to do. I was

watching the ball and then I hit into him. Sometimes things like

that happen in this game, and it’s frustrating to lose like

this.”

Houston manager Bo Porter said Paredes, who was charged with an

error, should have peeled off and let Elmore make the play. Paredes

collided with second baseman Jose Altuve on Monday night while

chasing a pop fly at Detroit.

”It’s not a lack of communication, because there’s only one

person that should be communicating,” Porter said. ”The infielder

is not saying anything. If he gets underneath the ball, the

outfielder is running in and he’s looking at the infielder. And if

the infielder is waving his hands and under the ball, you let him

take the ball.”

That wasn’t Houston’s only fielding foible.

Down 4-1, Pittsburgh started its comeback in the sixth when

Chris Carter, usually a designated hitter, dropped Andrew

McCutchen’s fly ball to right for a three-base error and Garrett

Jones followed with a double.

Pedro Alvarez hit a two-run homer in the eighth, a 462-foot

drive that cleared the right-field stands and went into the

Allegheny River on one hop.

Starling Marte singled off Edgar Gonzalez (0-1) leading off the

ninth, and Travis Snider hit into a forceout, with the Astros

failing to turn a double play with a late relay throw to first by

Elmore.

McCutchen’s single put runners at the corners, and Gonzalez

fielded Brandon Inge’s comebacker and dropped it for an error as he

turned to throw to second, missing his chance to start an

inning-ending double play.

Neil Walker took a called third strike with a full count, and

Martin lifted a full-count pitch to short right-center field, where

Elmore settled under the ball and Paredes slammed into him as the

ball hit his glove and fell to the field.

”In that situation, the crowd is so loud that you can’t hear

anybody calling for the ball,” Elmore said. ”We had already let

one ball drop, and I didn’t want to a second one to fall, too. I

was waving my arms, hoping Jimmy would see me, but he had his eye

on the ball the whole time.”

Justin Wilson (4-0) pitched a scoreless ninth as the Pirates

(25-17) won for the seventh time in eight games to move a

season-high eight games over .500.

”This game’s crazy sometimes,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle

said. ”The crowd helped us there on the error. They made it tough

on the fielders and they created a break for us.”

McCutchen homered and had three hits for Pittsburgh.

Houston’s 11-31 start is its worst and matched Miami for the

poorest record in the major leagues.

Astros starter Jordan Lyles allowed two runs – one earned – and

four hits in five innings and is 0-4 with a 6.75 ERA in six career

starts against Pittsburgh.

Pirates starter Jeanmar Gomez gave up four runs – three earned

— and five hits in 4 2-3 innings.

Houston built a 4-1 lead on Jason Castro’s sacrifice fly in the

first and a three-run third that included Matt Dominguez’s solo

homer, Elmore’s run-scoring single and a throwing error by Walker

at second.

McCutchen homered in the first.

”Our defense has been one of our strong suits pretty much the

whole year,” Porter said, ”but tonight we did not play good

defense and we put ourselves in position where it cost us the

ballgame.”

NOTES: The Pirates placed RHP Jose Contreras on the bereavement

list and recalled RHP Jared Hughes from Triple-A Indianapolis. …

Altuve missed his third straight game because of the death of his

grandmother and will be activated from the bereavement list prior

to Saturday night’s game. Elmore likely will be optioned back to

Triple-A Oklahoma. … Astros RHP Bud Norris will start Tuesday

against Kansas City rather than Sunday against Pittsburgh. He left

Monday’s start because of lower back spasms while warming up for

the sixth inning. RHP Lucas Harrell and LHP Dallas Keuchel both had

their turns moved up a day. Harrell will face the Pirates on Sunday

and Keuchel will pitch Monday against the Royals. … LHP Philip

Humber accepted an outright assignment to Oklahoma after Houston

designated him for assignment last weekend. Humber was 0-8 with a

9.59 ERA in nine games, including seven starts, for the Astros. …

LHP Erik Bedard (0-2, 6.67) will start Saturday night for Houston

against RHP A.J. Burnett (3-4, 2