Correia Has Strong Start

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Kevin Correia pitched six solid innings as a fill-in starter and Alex Presley, a late addition to the lineup, had two hits and scored three runs as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Houston Astros 6-3 on Wednesday night.

Correia stepped into the Pirates’ rotation for right-hander Jeff Karstens, who injured his right hip Friday in a start at Milwaukee, and allowed just one run and four hits. Correia also walked one and struck out one.

Correia (10-8) pitched four scoreless innings of relief against the Brewers in the game in which Karstens was injured. Correia began the season in the starting rotation but was bumped to the bullpen when the Pirates acquired left-hander Wandy Rodriguez from the Astros in a trade on July 24.

Houston fell to 53 games under .500 at 42-95.

Presley replaced left fielder Jose Tabata, who bruised his left foot on Tuesday night when he fouled a pitch off it and still felt pain after taking batting practice before Wednesday’s game.

Pirates rookie Brock Holt had two RBI one night after recording four hits in his fourth major league game and Gaby Sanchez had three hits for Pittsburgh, which pulled within 1 1-2 games of St. Louis in the race for the second National League wild-card spot.

Brandon Laird, yet another injury replacement, provided Houston’s highlight with his first major league home run, a two-run, two-out shot in the ninth inning off Jason Grilli. Laird took over at third base in the sixth inning when Scott Moore strained his right groin while fielding a bunt by Holt.

Houston left-hander Fernando Abad (0-3) had another rough start in his conversion to the rotation from the bullpen. He was rocked for six runs – five earned – in four innings. Abad has lost all three starts and has an 8.03 ERA in those games.

Pittsburgh scored two runs off Abad in the first and another in the second. Garrett Jones and Sanchez hit consecutive RBI singles in the first and Holt singled in a run in the second.

After Houston got its lone run in the top of the fourth when Jimmy Paredes doubled and scored on Brian Bogusevic’s single, Pittsburgh answered with two runs in the bottom half to increase its lead to 5-1. Presley tripled in a run and scored on a sacrifice fly by Holt.

A squeeze by Clint Barmes brought home a sixth-inning run for the Pirates.