Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) – Paul Maholm twirled a three-hit shutout to pitch Pittsburgh past Houston, 9-0, and finish off a three-game set at PNC Park.
Maholm (6-7) did not walk a batter, struck out one and did not allow a runner to advance past first base in his second career shutout for the Pirates, who took the last two games of the series by outscoring the Astros, 21-6.
“Everything was good. I threw one slider all day,” commented Maholm about his outing during which he retired the side in order five times. “I mixed speeds with the curve ball and the sinker. I threw a few change ups. They were aggressive, so I kept the ball down and let them beat it into the ground.”
Garrett Jones belted a two-run homer, Ronny Cedeno had four hits — three doubles — and scored twice and Ryan Doumit added three hits, a run scored and a run batted in for Pittsburgh, which banged out a season-high 19 hits to win a third straight home series.
Roy Oswalt (6-11) took the loss after yielding two runs on seven hits while fanning five over four frames. He left the game with a left ankle contusion after being struck by a Pedro Alvarez batted ball in the second inning.
“The blow is with Bud not quite going five yesterday and Roy going short today, we’re asking a lot out of our bullpen,” lamented Houston skipper Brad Mills.
Oswalt, who threw a one-hit shutout over the Buccos in his last start against them on July 8, was touched for a pair of runs in the second inning.
Alvarez started the rally with a one-out single off the left ankle of Oswalt and scored when Doumit doubled to center field. Lastings Milledge followed with a run-scoring single and advanced to third base when Cedeno doubled. The veteran right-hander worked out of further difficulty by striking out Maholm and Andrew McCutchen.
Milledge reached second on a fielder’s choice in the fourth inning and was thrown out trying to score by Carlos Lee on a Cedeno base hit to left field.
Oswalt was removed from the game after the inning ended with a left ankle contusion and was followed on the hill by Chris Sampson.
Jose Tabata singled with one out, stole second base and scored when Jones blasted his two-out, two-run home run to right field to push the lead to 4-0.
Wilton Lopez took over for Sampson in the sixth and gave up a single to Milledge and a double to Cedeno that put runners on second and third with one out. After Maholm grounded out, McCutchen singled to right to drive in both runners to extend the home team’s edge to 6-0.
McCutchen then left the game after making a diving catch on a Pedro Feliz line drive for the second out in the top of the eighth inning.
The Pirates tacked on a trio of runs in the bottom of the frame on RBI doubles by Ryan Church, who replaced McCutchen, and Tabata along with a run-scoring single by Neil Walker off Casey Daigle.
The Pirates have won seven of their last nine at home and are now 7-6-1 in home series…Delwyn Young had hit Pittsburgh’s last home run with a runner on base, off Stephen Strasburg on June 8, before Jones’ long ball in Sunday’s game…Alvarez has hit safely in 14 of his last 16 games, while Milledge has hit safely in six in a row…Maholm matched Zach Duke for the most wins at PNC Park with 27…He is now 9-5 in 15 starts against the Astros…Maholm’s. other career complete-game shutout came over the Astros on April 24, 2007. Oswalt remains one win shy of Joe Niekro’s franchise record 144 victories. He had gone at least six innings in all 27 career starts versus the Buccos before Sunday…Houston’s Hunter Pence lost an eight-game hit streak after going 0-for-3.