April 20, 1979: Pirates Lose to Astros in Ten

The Pirates moved on to Houston and introduced their new shortstop, but their losing streak extended to four.  The Astros took a 5-4 win in walkoff fashion in the tenth.

The Astros got single runs off Bruce Kison in the first two innings, converting a pair of leadoff singles.  The Pirates meanwhile did little against Houston ace J.R. Richard through the first three innings.

The Bucs got on the board in the fourth when Phil Garner led off with a double, then came around on a grounder and wild pitch.  They took the lead with a pair of runs in the fifth.  With one on and one out, Kison reached first on an error but was thrown out trying to go to second.  Omar Moreno tripled in a run, then scored when Garner reached on an error.

Ed Whitson replaced Kison in the bottom of the fifth and lost the lead in the sixth.  Former Pirate Art Howe singled in a run with two out and then scored on a double, making it 4-3 Houston.

The Pirates tied it in the eighth when Moreno singled, stole second, went to third on a grounder and scored on a fly ball by Dave Parker.  In the ninth they finally got rid of Richard when John Milner walked and pinch runner Matt Alexander reached third with one out.  Joaquin Andujar relieved Richard, though, and retired Rennie Stennett and Lee Lacy without letting the run in.  Richard fanned 11 while he was in the game, getting Willie Stargell four times.

Grant Jackson, Kent Tekulve, Enrique Romo and Jim Bibby kept the Astros off the board from the seventh through the ninth.  After the Pirates failed to score in the tenth, though, another former Pirate, Craig Reynolds, led off the bottom half by going all the way to third on an error by third baseman Dale Berra.  After an intentional walk, John Candelaria replaced Bibby and got a strikeout.  Another intentional walk loaded the bases to Jeffrey Leonard, who hit a walkoff sacrifice fly for a 5-4 final.

The Pirates managed to scratch out their four runs despite getting only five hits.  Stennett and Moreno had two each.  Tim Foli made his Pirate debut, going 0-for-3 out of the eighth spot before departing for a pinch hitter.