PITTSBURGH (AP) — Paul Maholm pitched a three-hitter for his second career shutout and the Pittsburgh Pirates established a season high for hits for the second consecutive game, beating the Houston Astros 9-0 on Sunday.
Maholm (6-7) faced only two batters above the minimum in needing 103 pitches to throw his first complete game since April 27, 2008, at Philadelphia. His only previous shutout was against Houston April 24, 2007.
Garrett Jones hit a two-run shot, the Pirates' first multiple-run homer in five weeks, and Ronny Cedeno went 4 for 4 with three doubles for Pittsburgh, which had 19 hits a day after amassing 17 in winning two straight following a seven-game losing streak.
Every Pirates position player had at least a hit and seven different players had at least an RBI.
Pittsburgh outfielder Andrew McCutchen left the game after making a diving catch in the eighth inning with neck soreness. No immediate word was available on the severity of the injury, which occurred when he dived for Pedro Feliz's sinking liner in right-center.
Astros ace Roy Oswalt missed out on an opportunity to tie Joe Niekro for the club's all-time victories record when he was removed from the game after four innings because of a bruised left ankle apparently sustained when Pedro Alvarez's sharply hit grounder struck his foot in the second.
Maholm allowed only three singles — two by Angel Sanchez, who was erased by a double play each time — in tying teammate Zach Duke for the most wins (27) in the 10-year history of PNC Park. Pittsburgh had lost five of his six previous starts.
It was the first complete game by a Pirates starter this season.
Oswalt (6-11) retired the first four batters he faced to extend his scoreless streak to 17 1-3 innings, but Alvarez's hit was the first of four consecutive. Oswalt would retire only seven of the final 14 batters he faced, allowing two runs on seven hits with five strikeouts.
Oswalt, 143-80 in his career, pitched a one-hitter against Pittsburgh in his previous outing July 8. He earlier in the season requested a trade from the only team he has played for and has only two starts remaining before the non-waiver trade deadline July 31.
Jones hit his team-leading 12th home run of the season — but only his second since June 13 — a high fly above the 21-foot wall in right-center off Chris Sampson with two outs and Jose Tabata aboard in the fifth.
It was the Pirates' first home run with a man on base since June 8.
McCutchen made it 6-0 with a two-out, two-run single in the sixth, and his replacement in the lineup, Ryan Church, added an RBI double and scored on a double by Tabata in the eighth. Walker made it 9-0 by driving in Tabata with a single.
NOTES: The most recent time Pittsburgh had 19 hits in a game was June 24, 2008. ... Pirates GM Neal Huntington confirmed that the team is close to completing a deal that would send RHP Hayden Penn to a Japanese team and that a move to Japan also is in the works for Triple-A RHP Vinnie Chulk. ... Houston has scored only 10 runs while Oswalt was in the game during his 11 losses. ... Jones' homer accounted for the first earned runs veteran reliever Sampson had been charged for against Pittsburgh in 20 career appearances. ... Pittsburgh is 7-6-1 in series at home but has won only three of 16 series on the road.