First, there was the beer-and-shaving-cream postgame celebration in the shower. Then former perfect-game winner and current Astros bullpen coach Dennis Martinez tossed over the game ball while the rookie pitcher was still confidently answering questions from the media. The Astros fought back to edge the Pirates 4-2 Saturday in an 11th-inning victory during in an interleague matchup at PNC Park. The 12-31 club wouldn’t have made it to the 10th without righthanded reliever Jose Cisnero, who threw 3 2/3 sharp innings of two-hit, no-run ball, striking out five and walking just one while earning the first victory of his career. “In the ninth inning, I say, ‘This is my third inning. I focus like a starter right now.’ ” said Cisnero, a former minor-league starter who has turned into one of the Astros’ top arms in the bullpen. Cisnero, 24, didn’t allow a baserunner in the ninth and 10th innings, turning the ball over to closer Jose Veras for a clean save in the 11th. “Oh, man. I tell you what, (Cisnero) did a tremendous job of saving the rest of the bullpen and keeping the game right there and gave our offense a chance to put together that two-run rally,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. The Astros evened the three-game series at 1-1 and improved to 2-3 on their six-game road trip.
Cisnero’s strong relief performance keeps Pirates at bay
Houston Chronicle | May 19