Josh Rutledge hit a bases-clearing double and Carlos Gonzalez launched a two-run home run as part of a seven-run seventh inning that propelled the Rockies to an 8-1 victory over the Pirates on Friday.
Rutledge, with the bases loaded and nobody out, smoked a 2-0 fastball from Ernesto Frieri to the center field wall to double the Rockies' lead to 6-0. That came after the Pirates' troubled reliever gave up a bouncing-ball double and an intentional walk against the first two batters he faced. After Corey Dickerson hit a flare that was caught for the first out, Gonzalez pulled a 1-1 slider on the outer half over the right field wall to give the Rox an 8-0 cushion and ensure that fans across the front range tomorrow suffer through moderate abdominal pain and all of the unpleasantries that come with it.
Gonzalez's homer was his only hit, but it also came on the heels of a 9-for-56 slump that stretched back to May 21. Rutledge finished with a pair of doubles and four RBI and Ben Paulsen contributed two hits and a walk. Paulsen is 7-for-14 with a pair of doubles and two walks in four games at the big league level.
There usually isn't much to complain about in an 8-1 win, but this is the Rockies we're talking about. Brett Anderson left earlier than planned, though he did throw in excess of 100 pitches, due to a blister on his left index finger. The fingers, man -- always the fingers. Anderson should be OK in the long run (knock on wood). Anderson wasn't at his best, allowing four walks and striking out only one in 6⅓ innings, but he also gave up just two hits and induced 10 ground-ball outs.
In something we've yet to see in Walt Weiss' tenure, the Rockies manager benched third baseman Nolan Arenado after the Gold Glover failed to run hard to on a check-swing grounder back to the mound that was mishandled by Pirates starter Charlie Morton. Arenado might have made it to first if not for his slow start out of the box, and that ticked off Weiss enough to send a message.
"I felt like he didn't meet the standard at that point," Weiss told Nick Groke of the Denver Post after the game.
Charlie Culberson replaced Arenado at third to begin the fifth inning. He went 0-for-2 with a strikeout at the plate but in the field, started a play in the bottom of the fifth that very well could have been called a triple play.
Culberson fielded Jordy Mercer's sharp grounder and stepped on third, but he made a bit of an errant throw to second that messed with Josh Rutledge's timing, appearing to pull him off the bag. Rutledge fired over to first to get Mercer, but Russell Martin was called safe at second. Weiss challenged, and replays were mostly inconclusive, though there were a couple of angles that showed Rutledge possibly kicking the back corner of the base with his toe while simultaneously catching the throw from Culberson.
It was certainly a situation in which, had the call on the field been out, officials would not have had sufficient evidence to overturn that, either. And, if that were the case, the Rockies would've had their second triple play of the season. So close.
At any rate, the Rockies have won two straight since switching to high socks. When a team is just 42-60, you'll take all of the positive vibes you can get. Consider me firmly in favor of keeping the socks showing.
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