Pirates still relevant in July
The Pittsburgh Pirates just recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of the World Series win over Baltimore in 1971. That wasn’t the last time they had a winning season or even won a World Series-it only seems that way.
On Monday, rookie Alex Presley had three of the Pirates’ 14 hits and Pittsburgh moved three games over .500 this late in the season for the first time in 12 years with a 5-3 win over the hapless Houston Astros.
Now the fans are starting to come out as the Pirates’ turnaround continues. They played in front of their fourth consecutive home sellout crowd as Pittsburgh is just 1.5 games behind St. Louis in the NL Central.
Paul Maholm (5-9) allowed one earned run in six innings for the Pirates, who are contending for the first time in years. In fact, theare less than two games from a division lead, which is the latest the team has been in a season since 1997.
Jeff Keppinger had two hits and scored two runs and Hunter Pence went 2 for 3 to extend his hitting streak to nine games for the Astros, who have lost four consecutive, nine of 10 and 12 of 14.
The Astros have replaced the Pirates as the worst team in baseball. They now have the majors’ worst record, which the Pirates had last season. . Pittsburgh is 14 games better than it was at this point of 2010. The Pirates have won three of four and nine of 13.
Maholm has been a hard-luck pitcher for the Pirates, who finally scored some runs for him on Monday. In fact, they scored more runs Monday than it had in all but two of the previous 17 starts by Maholm, who allowed five hits and three walks with three strikeouts. Maholm has won four of his past six decisions, lowering his ERA to 3.08.
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