Wandy dominates former teammates as Astros fall

Wandy dominates former teammates as Astros fall

Wandy dominates former teammates as Astros fall
PITTSBURGH -- Maybe the Astros would have been able to get Pirates starter Wandy Rodriguez out of his comfort zone a little bit had they been able to make some plays behind him. Then again, Rodriguez was so effective it might not have mattered at all.

Astros interim manager Tony DeFrancesco couldn't help but tip his cap to Rodriguez, who threw seven scoreless innings against his former team, while lamenting a pair of plays that weren't made defensively that helped the Pirates beat the Astros, 6-2, on Tuesday night at PNC Park.

A dropped pop up by shortstop Tyler Greene with two outs in the fifth inning allowed a pair of runs to score to give Pittsburgh a 6-0 advantage, and a hard-hit grounder skipped off Greene's glove two innings earlier for a hit that scored a run on a potential double-play ball.

"Those are plays you're hoping you can make at this level," DeFrancesco said.

Rodriguez, who had won more games than all but one other left-hander in Astros history before he was traded in July, reached double-digit wins again by holding the Astros to four singles and striking out seven batters.

"He was doing exactly what he does," catcher Jason Castro said. "That's what we would expect from him and what he did for the Astros for a long time. We had a pretty good idea of what he was going to do, and he did a good job of executing."

Houston starter Jordan Lyles (3-11) allowed seven hits and five runs (four earned) in 4 2/3 innings that saw him struggle against the top four hitters in the batting order. Pirates leadoff hitter Brock Holt went 4-for-5 and was joined in the hit parade by Andrew McCutchen, who went 4-for-4 with three RBIs for his sixth four-hit game of the season.

"Jordan Lyles today I thought got up in the zone early and never really had his rhythm going," DeFrancesco said. "He settled down for a couple of innings, but overall he was inconsistent with his breaking ball, elevated fastballs and some poor defense led to some more runs."

Holt, who played collegiately at Rice University in Houston, got the call up after only one month in Triple-A after hitting.432 in 24 games. He had four hits in only his fourth Major League game.

"I think this is my first four-hit game of the year, so to have it in the big leagues is pretty nice," Holt said. "We got the 'W,' too, so that's all that matters. The biggest thing [in making the transition from the Minors], whenever you come up here, is to realize it's the same game. It's still baseball, something I've been telling myself the past few days and today it worked."

Lyles, who like Rodriguez (10-13) was forced to deal with a rain delay that postponed the start of the game for 75 minutes, struggled with his mechanics and left pitches up in the zone early.

"It was a little bit different tonight with the little delay, and that was my first experience with that, but I felt like my arm's as strong as it's been throughout my career," Lyles said. "The velocity is up a little bit, but I have to do a better job making quality pitches out of the stretch and staying away from the big inning."

McCutchen doubled home a run in the first, and Lyles allowed four consecutive hitters to reach after one out in the third. McCutchen's single past a diving Greene scored a run, and Garrett Jones was credited with a single with his grounder off Greene's glove to make it 3-0.

"That's a tough play," DeFrancesco said. "That ball is coming out hot. It's a great play if he makes it, and we didn't make it."

Lyles was pulled from the game with two outs in the fifth after giving up an RBI single to McCutchen, a liner off the glove of third baseman Brandon Laird. Fernando Rodriguez walked Jones, and Pedro Alvarez hit a high pop up in the infield.

The Astros were playing Alvarez to pull the ball and had Greene playing on the right field side of second base. Both he and Laird called for the ball in front of the bag, and the ball caromed out of Greene's glove just as Laird pulled up. Both runners scored.

"That's a fly ball I should have," Greene said. "I just think we had just maybe guys in different spots and maybe some miscommunication, but that's my responsibility being the shortstop out there. I have to charge and take control of what's going on."

Brett Wallace had an RBI double and Chris Snyder an RBI single for the Astros in the eighth.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.