Pirates outlast Rockies, 5-4
Clint Barmes, right, capped a 3-for-3 performance at the plate with a home run to tie the score, 4-4, in the eighth.
The Pirates had to overcome two, two-run homers by Carlos Gonzalez.
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It didn't happen against a 49-year-old pitcher who struggles to hit 80 mph on the radar gun, but it eventually happened.
The Pirates offense showed some life.
The Pirates smacked five hits and scored four runs in the seventh and eighth innings -- twice climbing back from one-run deficits to beat the Colorado Rockies, 5-4, Tuesday night at PNC Park.
The Pirates have not scored nor allowed more than five runs in a game through 16 games this season, matching the longest such streak to start a season in the National League. The record was set by the 1965 Pirates. The 1943 Tigers have the major league record, having played their first 17 games without scoring or allowing more than five runs in a game.
- Games: Rockies vs. Pirates, 12:35 p.m., PNC Park. Second game will start 30 minutes after completion of the first.
- TV, radio: Root Sports, KDKA-FM (93.7)
- Probables: Game 1 -- RHP Juan Nicasio (1-0, 6.19) vs. RHP James McDonald (0-1, 3.45); Game 2 -- RHP Jhoulys Chacin (0-1, 4.80) vs. RHP Charlie Morton (0-1, 3.60)
- Key matchup: Chacin vs. the lineup; he has allowed 11 earned runs in three career starts against the Pirates.
- Hidden stat: The Pirates have split every doubleheader at PNC Park since 2007.
- Rockies first: Scutaro popped out to shortstop Barmes. Fowler singled to center. C.Gonzalez homered to left on a full count, Fowler scored. Tulowitzki singled to right. Helton grounded out, third baseman Navarro to first baseman McGehee, Tulowitzki to second. Cuddyer lined out to shortstop Barmes. 2 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 1 left on. Rockies 2, Pirates 0.
- Pirates first: Presley doubled to center. Tabata sacrificed, pitcher Moyer to first baseman Helton, Presley to third. McCutchen grounded out, shortstop Tulowitzki to first baseman Helton, Presley scored. McGehee walked on a full count. Walker flied out to left fielder C.Gonzalez. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 left on. Rockies 2, Pirates 1.
- Pirates seventh: Brothers pitching. Presley doubled to left. Tabata singled to right, Presley to third. McCutchen doubled to center, Presley scored, Tabata scored. McGehee walked on four pitches. Roenicke pitching. Walker lined out to first baseman Helton. Navarro flied out to center fielder Fowler. Barajas lined out to left fielder C.Gonzalez. 2 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 2 left on. Pirates 3, Rockies 2.
- Rockies eighth: Grilli pitching. E.Young pinch-hitting for Roenicke. E.Young struck out. Scutaro doubled to right. Fowler struck out. Watson pitching. C.Gonzalez homered to center on a 1-1 count, Scutaro scored. Tulowitzki flied out to center fielder McCutchen. 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 0 left on. Rockies 4, Pirates 3.
- Pirates eighth: Belisle pitching. Barmes homered to left on a 2-0 count. G.Jones pinch-hitting for Watson. G.Jones walked. Presley safe at first on a sacrifice plus pitcher Belisle's fielding error, G.Jones to second. McLouth pinch-running for G.Jones. Tabata flied out on a bunt to catcher R.Hernandez. McCutchen grounded into fielder's choice, pitcher Belisle to shortstop Tulowitzki, McLouth to third, Presley out. McGehee singled to center, McLouth scored, McCutchen to third. Mat.Reynolds pitching. Walker grounded out, third baseman Nelson to first baseman Helton. 2 runs, 2 hits, 1 error, 2 left on. Pirates 5, Rockies 4.
Casey McGehee singled to right field with two outs in the eighth, scoring Nate McLouth from third for the go-ahead run.
"I've always enjoyed hitting in those types of situations," McGehee said. "Even last year, when I was struggling, I felt like I had some decent success in those situations."
Earlier in the inning, shortstop Clint Barmes, who entered the game with four hits and a .089 batting average, hit a solo home run that tied the score, 4-4. Barmes finished 3 for 3 with a home run and two doubles.
"For where I'm at, at this point in the season, I needed this one bad," he said.
Barmes said he has been beaten all season with fastballs on the inner half of the plate, but he drove a fastball in over the wall in left field.
"I've seen it before," manager Clint Hurdle said of Barmes, a pupil in Colorado. "Not many people here have."
Joel Hanrahan retired all three batters he faced to earn his third save of the season in as many opportunities.
Left fielder Carlos Gonzalez hit two, two-run home runs and helped the Rockies climb back from a late deficit. Trailing, 3-2, in the eighth, Gonzalez sent an 84-mph slider from Pirates reliever Tony Watson into Colorado's bullpen. The two homers are Gonzalez's only two of the season, but it was the fifth career multi-homer game for him.
Though he surrendered the lead, Watson earned the win. Reliever Matt Belisle was the loser.
The Pirates tallied 11 hits but stranded 12 baserunners, including eight in scoring position. Hurdle said that the Pirates stranding baserunners is a good sign -- because it means they have runners on base in the first place, which hasn't often been the case with this team.
Tuesday night they got enough big hits to come out on top. In addition to McGehee's winning RBI and Barmes' tying home run, Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run double in the seventh that gave the Pirates a temporary lead. Those are the big hits the team has lacked up to this point this year.
"Everybody breathes a little bit easier," Hurdle said when those hits fall.
Starter Kevin Correia appeared to put his home pitching woes behind him, settling down after a shaky first inning to allow two earned runs on four hits over six innings. He was stellar in his first two starts of the season -- both on the road. Correia had a 2.64 ERA on the road in 2011 and a 7.71 ERA at home.
"It wasn't his sharpest stuff. ... But he battled," Hurdle said. "He pitched a good ballgame.
More than 25 years after making his major league debut against the Pirates, Rockies starter Jamie Moyer left the game with his team in position to win. Though he never overpowered any batters, he kept hitters guessing all game by mixing pitch types and locations. He allowed one run on six hits over six innings, striking out three and walking three.
While Moyer escaped the game having allowed one run, the Pirates (7-9) kept him under pressure throughout the game. But Moyer never broke.
With runners on second and third with two outs in the fourth, Moyer got Correia to swing into an inning-ending strikeout. Two innings later, with two outs and the bases loaded, Moyer got pinch-hitter Josh Harrison to ground into a force play at third, preserving a one-run lead for the Rockies (8-8).
It was only after he left the game that the Pirates offense finally broke through.
The Pirates halved the Rockies' early lead on just four pitches in the first. Alex Presley drove the second pitch of the game to center field for a stand-up double. He moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Jose Tabata and scored when McCutchen grounded out to shortstop.
First Published April 25, 2012 12:33 am