Four-run fifth inning pushes Pirates past Astros

Figure this: Pittsburgh grabbed its first three-game sweep in Houston since 1991. Also, the Pirates, which opened last season with three straight losses, are 3-0 for the first time since 2003.

Did you see that? Third baseman Morgan Ensberg got hit on his left wrist by a grounder in the sixth inning. He appeared to be in pain, but remained in the game.

Elias Says: The Pirates completed a three-game sweep of the Astros with Salomon Torrez notching a save in each game. Last year, Derrick Turnbow became the first pitcher in major league history to save each of his team's first three games of a season.

-- ESPN.com news services

Pirates 5, Astros 4

HOUSTON (AP) -- The Pittsburgh Pirates want to prove they're a good team.

If first impressions count, they've certainly helped their cause.

Jose Bautista drove in three runs to help the Pirates cap a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros with a 5-4 come-from-behind win Wednesday night.

"It feels great," Bautista said. "I think everybody's here trying hard and trying to come out and prove something to the other ballclubs. And so far, it's worked out. If we keep playing like we're doing, it's going to be a good year for us."

Pittsburgh, which opened last season with six straight losses, is 3-0 for the first time since 2003 and left town with its first three-game sweep in Houston since 1991.

In the first two games, the Pirates waited until late in the game to rally for the win. This time, they took the lead with a four-run fifth inning and held on for the victory.

Last season, the Pirates' 14th straight with a losing record, they lost 18 of their first 23 games.

"It's definitely only three games, but for us having the year that we had last year and losing all those games in the first half, I think this was a big step," Bautista said.

Tom Gorzelanny (1-0) allowed seven hits and three runs with four strikeouts in five innings for the win.

Shawn Chacon pitched two perfect innings before Matt Capps retired three straight in the eighth. Salomon Torres, who went 12-for-12 in save chances last year, pitched the ninth -- allowing Craig Biggio's two-out homer -- for his third save in as many nights.

Manager Jim Tracy was impressed with the work of his bullpen.

"They were great the whole series," he said. "If that's the way they're going to perform, and you have the resources in front of them to get the outs that are necessary to get the ball to them with the lead, you have a real good chance of shaping up as a fairly formidable bullpen."

Ronny Paulino got an RBI double in the fifth when Chris Burke couldn't get to his hit that landed on the hill in center field. Burke had a chance to redeem himself with Xavier Nady batting next, but the ball bounced out of his glove and Nady advanced to second.

"The first play was a tough play," Astros manager Phil Garner said. "A lot of center fielders make it, but it's still tough. The second play he should have made it."

Bautista then drove in two runs with his single to center that put Pittsburgh ahead 4-3.

With two outs in fifth, Astros starter Woody Williams (0-1) was replaced by Dave Borkowski.

The Pirates stretched their lead to 5-3 when Chris Duffy's grounder bounced off Adam Everett's glove and the shortstop chased down the ball, but accidentally kicked it and couldn't scoop it up on his first try. By the time Everett could handle the ball, Bautista had scored.

Everett, who had just seven errors in 2006, was charged with two errors on the play.

"It's just a weird day," Garner said of the errors. "Sometimes weird things happen."

When Tracy was asked if there was a better way for his team to start the season, he pondered the question for a few seconds.

"I don't know that there's one," he said. "You come to a place that history suggests we haven't been very good at. And to win three games in this ballpark and to play the kind of baseball that we played, and pitch the way that we pitched, it's a great way to start."

It wasn't quite the homecoming Williams was looking for. The 40-year-old, who grew up in Houston and said his lifelong dream was to play for the Astros, allowed eight hits and five runs, three earned, and hit two batters in 4 2-3 innings. The loss, in his 300th career start, breaks a five-game winning streak dating to September with the Padres.

"I was just out of whack," Williams said. "It was a game that should have been put away by me. I'm pretty disappointed. My teammates expected more. The organization expected more. It's a shame I didn't do my job."

In the third, Biggio and Burke hit back-to-back singles before Biggio scored on a sacrifice fly to right field by Lance Berkman that put Houston ahead 2-1. Biggio had three hits Wednesday to put him 66 hits shy of 3,000 in his career.

Carlos Lee's RBI single to center field in the first put the Astros ahead 1-0. Bautista's run-scoring double in the second tied it at 1.

Houston other run came in the fourth inning when Gorzelanny hit Burke with a pitch with the bases loaded.

Game notes
Chris Sampson, the Astros fifth starter, pitched three scoreless innings in relief Wednesday in his first appearance of 2007.