Matt Kata scored from second base on Miguel Tejada's infield single, snapping a seventh-inning tie in the Houston Astros' 6-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.
Pirates shortstop Ramon Vazquez went to the turf to field Tejada's grounder, fumbled the ball and tried to get it to second baseman Freddy Sanchez for an inning-ending force. But they couldn't connect and Kata never stopped running, putting Houston ahead 4-3.
Humberto Quintero, who went 3 for 4 with two RBIs, had an RBI single and Jason Michaels added a run-scoring double in the eighth to make it 6-3.
Chris Sampson ran his shutout streak against the Pirates to 24 innings with a perfect eighth. LaTroy Hawkins allowed a run in the ninth before getting his eighth save in 10 tries.
Jeff Fulchino (1-1) pitched a scoreless inning for the win.
Pittsburgh rookie Andrew McCutchen had three hits and an RBI. The Pirates are a half-game in front of last-place Houston in the NL Central.
Astros starter Felipe Paulino strained his right groin in the second inning and left the game. He struck out four in 1 2-3 innings.
Russ Ortiz replaced Paulino and tossed 4 1-3 scoreless innings. He gave up four hits and a walk, striking out three.
Steven Jackson (1-1) took the loss, allowing three runs, three hits and two walks in 1 1-3 innings.
Pittsburgh starter Ian Snell pitched six innings and allowed three runs on eight hits and a walk. He struck out three.
Jason Jaramillo's RBI double gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead in the second. The Astros tied it in the bottom half on Jeff Keppinger's RBI single.
The Pirates, who lead the league in double plays, backed Snell with twin killings in each of the first three innings. It gave them 63 for the season.
In the fifth, Quintero's double drove in Keppinger for a 2-1 Astros lead. Carlos Lee made it 3-1 with an RBI single in the sixth.
Tim Byrdak relieved Ortiz to start the seventh and promptly loaded the bases without getting an out. Fulchino then replaced Byrdak and got McCutchen to ground out, allowing one run to score. Nyjer Morgan's RBI single tied it 3-all.
Morgan also had a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
Notes:@ SS Jack Wilson was out of the Pirates' lineup with a sore shoulder. He hurt it on a play in the second inning Saturday when he dove for a grounder. He is day to day. Astros relievers Geoff Geary and Jose Valverde each threw two simulated innings before the game. Valverde, on the disabled list with a right calf strain, planned to throw only one inning Sunday but felt so good, he pitched two. He said he will begin a minor league rehab assignment probably Monday or Tuesday and expects to be activated for the Arizona series that starts Friday. Houston manager Cecil Cooper said Geary (right biceps tendinitis) also might be ready by Friday. Astros RHP Alberto Arias was available to pitch after being accidentally hit in the forehead by a ball thrown by teammate Wandy Rodriguez on Friday. Arias sat out Saturday with dizziness. 2B Kaz Matsui (strained left hamstring) ran and took grounders again, and the Astros are considering sending him on a rehab assignment this week.