Pirates 6, Astros 5: Rookie Starling Marte lifted a game-tying sacrifice fly and Drew Sutton scored on a wild pitch as visiting Pittsburgh staged a ninth-inning rally to hand Houston its 11th consecutive loss.
Michael McKenry went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and Alex Presley also went deep for the Pirates, who improved to 2-0 on their 10-game road trip and remained two games behind National League Central-leading Cincinnati with their eighth win in 10 overall contests.
Rhiner Cruz (1-1) replaced Wesley Wright with one out and none on in the ninth but provided no relief as Pittsburgh loaded the bases on a single and two walks. Xavier Cedeno came on and was greeted by Marte's sacrifice fly to center field before uncorking a wild pitch that allowed the winning run to score.
Tony Watson (5-1) struck out two in a scoreless eighth and All-Star Joel Hanrahan worked around a hit in the ninth for his 31st save in 34 opportunities.
Chris Johnson fell a single shy of the cycle and Ben Francisco also homered for the Astros, who have lost 24 of their last 26. Johnson is hitting .484 (15-for-31) with two homers and six RBIs over his last eight games.
Houston jumped out to an early lead as Francisco drove in J.D. Martinez with the third of three consecutive singles to start the second inning. Justin Maxwell evaded a tag attempt at the plate by Pirates catcher McKenry on Jordan Lyles' sacrifice and touched the plate just before McKenry's second try, giving the Astros a 2-0 advantage.
Johnson led off the third with his eighth home run of the season, increasing the lead. All eight of Johnson's homers have been hit at Minute Maid Park.
Presley and Francisco traded solo blasts in the fourth, and McKenry launched a two-run shot an inning later to cut Houston's advantage to 4-3. Pinch hitter Josh Harrison lifted a sacrifice fly in the seventh to knot the contest.
GAME NOTEBOOK: The Pirates have won eight consecutive meetings with the Astros. ... Wright started the eighth inning and retired the first batter before moving to right field as Wilton Lopez came on and yielded a double by Andrew McCutchen. Wright returned to the mound and stranded the potential tying run. ... Astros RHP Francisco Cordero was not available for Friday's game due to a sprained toe. Acquired from Toronto last week, Cordero has blown each of his two save opportunities as an Astro.