HOUSTON (AP) – Yuli Gurriel and Alex Bregman homered to back up a solid start by Gerrit Cole in his first meeting against his former team, and the Houston Astros got a 5-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.
After winning just one time on a seven-game road trip which ended Sunday, the Astros opened a six-game homestand with the victory over the Pirates, who came into town on a four-game winning streak.
Cole (7-5) yielded seven hits and one run in six innings against the team which drafted him first overall in 2011 and where he spent five seasons before a trade to Houston before last season. Cole struck out three and walked two as he won his third straight decision.
Bregman got things going in the fourth with a double off Trevor Williams before Gurriel launched a fastball into the seats in left field with two outs in the inning to make it 2-0.
An RBI single by Melky Cabrera got the Pirates within 1 in the sixth before Bregman opened the bottom of the inning with his 22nd home run to make it 3-1.
Williams (2-2) allowed eight hits and four runs in 6 2/3 innings. Houston added a run on a sacrifice fly by Robinson Chirinos for the second out of the seventh inning and Williams was lifted when George Springer singled after that.
It was the only hit of the night for Springer, who returned to the lineup on Tuesday for the first time since straining his left hamstring on May 24.
Cole got a big assist from his defense in the fourth inning when Josh Reddick reached over the short wall in right field to rob Starling Marte of a home run for the first out of the inning.
Cole didn’t allow more than one baserunner in an inning until the fifth when José Osuna singled with one out before Elias Díaz walked. But the Pirates came away emptyhanded when Cole retired Adam Frazier before striking out Kevin Newman to end the inning.
Corey Dickerson doubled to start the sixth and advanced to third on a groundout by Marte. The Pirates cut the lead to 1 when Dickerson scored on the ground ball single by Cabrera with two outs in the inning. Colin Moran singled after that before Cole walked Osuna to load the bases. But he was able to limit the damage when Díaz grounded out.
The Astros padded the lead on an RBI double by rookie Yordan Alvarez with no outs in the eighth.
Astros: RHP Collin McHugh, who hasn’t pitched since May 14 because of a sore right elbow, was activated from the injured list on Monday and pitched a scoreless ninth.
Pirates: RHP Dario Agrazal (0-0, 4.50) will be recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis to start for Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. Agrazal allowed six hits and three runs – two earned – in four innings against the Marlins on June 15 in his major league debut.
Astros: LHP Framber Valdez (3-3, 3.61) is scheduled to start for Houston on Wednesday. Valdez yielded four hits and five runs in 3 1/3 innings of a 10-6 loss to the Yankees in his last start.