The Colorado Rockies put a stop to their three-game losing streak and salvaged a win against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night with a 5-1 victory behind a home run from Ian Desmond, four hits from Raimel Tapia, and strong work from the pitching staff. The win also preserved a winning 4-3 road trip and kept the Rockies, at the very least, in a tie for first place in the National League West.
Ian Desmond got the scoring started with a solo home run in the second inning. Desmond’s fourth home run of the season (all of which have come on the road) was a wall scraper to left that was upheld after a review.
In the fifth, the Rockies tacked on another pair of runs. Trevor Story singled home Desmond after he walked, then Raimel Tapia singled and scored thanks to Pittsburgh first baseman Josh Bell’s error on German Marquez’s sacrifice bunt to put the Rockies ahead, 3-0.
Half an inning later in the bottom of the fifth, Marquez hit Pirates’ catcher Francisco Cervelli with a pitch after a fastball came inside on him the previous inning. Cervelli, apparently thinking Marquez would intentionally throw at him to put the tying run on base, had some choice words for him instead of taking his base like a rational adult and caused the benches to clear. Cooler heads soon prevailed and we got back to playing baseball.
Pittsburgh starter Chad Kuhl lasted just five innings in this one, allowing three runs on four hits with a walk and three strikeouts. It was the 10th consecutive start for the 24-year-old in which he threw five innings or less.
In the sixth, the Pirates got on the board on Gregory Polanco’s double play after Adam Frazier and Josh Harrison led off the inning with a double and a single to chase Marquez from the game. The 22-year-old righty allowed just a run on four hits in his five innings of work, walking one and striking out a pair. He owes a big thank you to Chris Rusin, who limited damage in what could have become a big inning with a pair of grounders that produced three outs.
The Rockies got the run right back in the seventh on Alexi Amarista’s pinch hit RBI single to score Tapia after his third hit of the game to go ahead 4-1. In the bottom of the inning, Pittsburgh loaded the bases thanks to a single from Cervelli followed by a hit batter and a walk by Rockies’ reliever Adam Ottavino, which chased him from the game. Ottavino was replaced by Jake McGee, who escaped the inning with a shallow fly ball and a strikeout, then continued on to throw a scoreless eighth inning to bridge the gap to closer Greg Holland and lower his ERA on the year to a sparkling 1.32.
In spite of it not being a “save situation, Holland pitched the ninth inning anyway and sat the Pirates down in order with a strikeout to lower his own ERA to an even lower 1.09 ERA.
With the win, the Rockies improve to 42-26 on the year and avoid their first four-game losing streak of the season. Pittsburgh drops to 30-36 with the loss. After this, the Rockies return home to begin a four-game series with the San Francisco Giants. Jeff Hoffman takes the ball for the Rockies against Matt Moore of the Giants. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 pm mountain time.