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PITTSBURGH -- Ivan Nova has developed a pre-game ritual since coming to the Pittsburgh Pirates from the New York Yankees in a trade on Aug. Cheap Jaguars Jerseys . 1.The right-hander walks up to right fielder Gregory Polanco in the dugout just before the first pitch and asks him to hit a home run.He hit two for me today, Nova said with a smile.Nova took a shutout into the ninth inning and finished with a six-hitter while Polanco hit two home runs to lead the Pirates to a 7-1 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.Nova (10-6) struck out six, walked one and threw 69 of his 98 pitches for strikes while improving to 3-0 in four starts with the Pirates.It was the fourth complete game of the right-handers seven-year career with the others coming in 2013.He was very efficient with his pitches, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. He threw a lot of really good sinkers against a very good-hitting team with a lot of right-handed hitters and he locked them up with the ball away.His bid for his third career shutout ended when Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve led off the ninth with consecutive doubles.Pittsburgh snapped its four-game losing streak and stopped Houstons four-game winning streak. Both teams entered 3 1/2 games out of the second wild card in their respective leagues.Nova is doing his best to keep the Pirates hopes of a fourth consecutive postseason appearance alive after being traded for the first time in his career.You dont want to get traded, Nova said. This is not what I was looking for. Stuff like that happens, though. Im happy to be here. Its a good group of guys who want to win and Im trying to do the best I can to help them win.After the Pirates scored four runs in the first inning, Polanco hit solo shots in the third and fifth off Joe Musgrove and Tony Sipp to extend the lead to 6-0 and raise his season total to a team-high 19 homers.It was Polancos second two-home run game of his three-year career. The other was July 4 at St. Louis.The right fielder hit a combined 19 homers in his first two seasons.I guess Im getting stronger, Polanco said. My swing is getting better, shorter and quicker. Experience, too. The more swings you take, the better you get every day.The Pirates opened the first inning with six straight hits off Musgrove (1-2). Matt Joyce and Andrew McCutchen hit consecutive RBI doubles then Polanco and rookie Josh Bell drove in runs with singles.Polanco had three of the Pirates 11 hits while driving in three runs and scoring three times. Joyce and Bell added two hits each.The Astros Marwin Gonzalez had three hits.Musgrove, a rookie making his fourth career start, was rocked for five runs and eight hits in four innings with two strikeouts and no walks. He has allowed a combined 13 runs in 9 1/3 innings while losing his last two starts.Hes learning, Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. Thats part of the nature of having young starters. Hes got to learn to battle himself through his first back-to-back games of adversity. He has pitches to do it. He has a ton of competitiveness in him.TRAINERS ROOMAstros: 3B Luis Valbuena will undergo surgery in the next few days to repair a torn tendon in his right hamstring. Out since July 27, Valbuena finishes the season hitting .260 with 13 home runs in 90 games. ... OF Preston Tucker (strained right shoulder) will begin a rehab assignment Wednesday at Double-A Corpus Christi. ... 3B/OF Yulieski Gurriel (right hamstring tightness) did not start for a second straight game after making his major league debut Sunday but is expected to be in the lineup Wednesday.UP NEXTAstros: RHP Collin McHugh (7-10, 4.99 ERA) starts the finale of the three-game series Wednesday. He is 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA in his last five starts.Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole (7-8, 3.30) is 0-2 with a 6.48 ERA in his last three starts. Discount Jaguars Jerseys . On Saturday night, the normally free throw-challenged centre did just that. Howard scored 18 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, including 13 of 19 free throws in a 2 1/2-minute stretch, and the Houston Rockets beat the Denver Nuggets 122-111. Jaguars Jerseys Outlet . Miikka Kiprusoff had just announced his retirement after a decade-long run in Calgary and it would be up to Berra and Ramo to fill the void. . The Hall of Fame defenceman told Landsberg that he believes fighting still has a place in todays game, but thinks staged fighting needs be outlawed. COLUMBIA, S.C. - The athletic prowess of senior Dessaa Legros has been known to Gamecock faithful for years, but on Friday night the outside hitter turned in an all-time great performance to help guide South Carolina (15-6, 3-6 SEC) to a win over LSU (7-14, 2-8 SEC). Legros hit a career-high 26 kills with a .429 hitting percentage to will the team to a four-set win over the Tigers (25-20, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23).1st Set: The opening game was all about the offense for South Carolina, as the team combined for a .394 hitting percentage and 18 kills to win 25-20. Legros had five kills, but it was actually Mikayla Shields who stole the show early on. The freshman had six kills on just seven swings to power the attack, and LSU was unable to stop the Gamecocks barrage from the wings. The Tigers were able to tie the set up at 16, but a 4-0 run from there broke the suspense for Carolina, who pulled away from there.2nd Set: Both teams slugged it in the second set, but LSU was able to hang on for the equalizer before halftime. The Tigers out-hit Carolina .342 to .325 and saw outside hitter Toni Rodriguez complete the set with seven kills. There would be nine total ties, but South Carolina just wasnt able to get the run it needed to pressure LSU. Legros and Atoa-Williams finished with five kills in the game, but it would be 1-1 heading into the break after a 25-23 win for the visitors.3rd Set: The third set would be even more contentious, as the two teams battled for the all-important 2-1 lead. There were four lead changes and 11 ties in the third, but the unstoppable force that was Dessaa Legros powered the Gamecocks to a 25-22 win. The senior had an eye-popping nine kills in the set, hitting .615, and many would come early on as the two sides jockeyed for a lead. South Carolina held a 15-12 lead at the media timeout, but LSU ran off six of the next eight points in the game to take an 18-17 lead and force the Gamecocks into a timeout. Out of the break, Aubrey Ezell served tough and forced a pair of over passes that were killed by Carolina. That would be all the momentum needed as the home side held on for the win.4th Set: Looking to close out the win, South Carolina rode the right arm of Legros for one more set - and she would deliver seven more kills. The Gamecocks used a 5-1 run to break a 10-all tie, andd held the Tigers at an arms length the rest of the way. Wholesale Jaguars Jerseys. Though LSU would tie things up late in the frame, at 21 and 22, they would not take the lead after that early run. A kill from none other than Legros broke the deadlock at 22, and Alicia Starr sent the fans home happy with a kill to clinch the win.STAT OF THE MATCHNot only did Legros have a career night in total kills, but the senior pin also hit .429 over her 49 attempts and had five digs and made zero errors in serve receive despite being the main target for the Tiger servers all night.NOTABLELegros 26 kills are tied for the fifth most in a four-set match in the rally-scoring era (since 2001). The last Gamecock to have more was Juliette Thevenin on Sept. 21, 2013. Koko Atoa-Williams continues to heat up down the stretch, the senior had 12 kills and eight digs Friday against LSU. Over the last three matches, she is averaging 3.10 kills and 3.19 digs per set. Mikayla Shields quietly tallied her second double-double of the season, finishing the match with 13 kills and 11 digs. The win over LSU is the second this season; the Gamecocks had not won back-to-back meetings over the Tigers since 2008. Along with the match being the teams Dig Pink game, it was also Alumni Night for South Carolina. In all, 15 former players and staff were in attendance, including the programs three Hall of Famers - Ashley (Edlund) Heidtke, Heather Larkin and Shonda Cole. QUOTABLE: HEAD COACH SCOTT SWANSONOn Dessaa Legros performance I think her all-around game was just clicking. She passed a 2.5, which is about as good as you could expect and shes not normally one of our better passers. Tonight, she just took it on, and I think because of her confidence in handling that first ball she just caught fire as a hitter... I cant say enough about the effort she put in, she made sure we were going to win the match tonight.UP NEXTThe team will remain home for its Sunday match, welcoming in Texas A&M for a 4 p.m. showdown on the SEC Network. The two teams met just two weeks ago, with the Aggies sweeping Carolina in College Station. 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