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Pirates sweep doubleheader as Rockies fail to score

At least it was only 14 innings

Game 1: Pirates 7, Rockies 0

It was that old story again - no offense and struggling pitching, and that tale ended in an all-too-familiar Rockies road loss on a rainy, gloomy Saturday in Pittsbugh.

Jon Gray struggled from the get-go, encountering command issues and ineffectiveness with his fastball-slider combination. The Pirates left two on in a scoreless first inning, but the Gray Wolf was bitten in the second. A walk to Wilmer Difo and a base hit on an 0-2 pitch by Cole Tucker got the Bucs in a good place to open the frame. Michael Perez sent a grounder up the middle to open the scoring, and two more runs would score on a fielder’s choice and a sacrifice fly from Adam Frazier and Ben Gamel, respectively.

Despite his tough start, Gray did make some history on Saturday. His strikeout of Wilmer Difo in the third inning gave him 742 for his career, tying him with Jeff Francis for fourth-most in club history.

The bottom of the fifth was tough as well. After a 1-2-3 fourth inning from Tyler Kinley, Jhoulys Chacín allowed three more runs to make it 6-0. A leadoff single from Ben Gamel and home run from Bryan Reynolds plated the first two of the inning, and a fielder’s choice play at the plate netted the third. The single, homer, and Gregory Polanco triple (who would score on that fielder’s choice) took place over five pitches from Chacín. Ryan McMahon attempted to cut down Polanco at the plate, but he was called safe after a close play. Following a three-plus minute replay review, the call was upheld.

Luckily for Colorado, Joshua Fuentes made a nice snag-and-tag play at third to end the inning before more damage could be done.

The Pirates would add one more run against Lucas Gilbreath in the sixth.

The Rockies had their biggest (and really, only) chance in the top of the sixth inning. Raimel Tapia singled to start (the only time their leadoff hitter reached), but was erased on Garrett Hampson’s groundout. With Hampson now on, Ryan McMahon doubled and C.J. Cron was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. As Blackmon stepped up to bat, it seemed the Blake Street boys could finally break through and put a crooked number on the board, but it was not to be. Blackmon flew out to right, too shallow to send even the speedy Hampson, and Brendan Rodgers lined out to end the threat.

Game 1 was the ninth straight road game in which the Rockies scored three or fewer runs and totaled six or less hits. It was also the ninth time they’ve been shut out this season—the leading MLB figure even before Game 2.

★ ★ ★

Game 2: Pirates 4, Rockies 0

Second verse, same as the first. The Rockies’ offense was stagnant again as they lost Game 2 of the doubleheader to the Pirates 4-0.

Austin Gomber does okay

Gomber didn’t have his best stuff today and definitely wasn’t as sharp as he was in his last outing but limited the damage, and gave the offense a fighting chance. He finished the day with three runs (two earned) on five hits in four innings pitched. Gomber’s biggest mistakes came on home runs by Adam Frazier and Ka’ai Tom.

Gomber was removed from the game with five strikeouts and one walk on 67 pitches. He may have thrown more if this were a typical nine-inning game, but the unusual dynamics of the seven-inning game forced the Bud Black decision to come sooner.

Offense struggles again

For the 10th straight road game, the Colorado offense failed to score more than three runs or notch more than six hits. The Rockies scattered two hits and five walks across the seven innings of the game and were unable to gain any momentum to push any runs across for the second straight contest.

The starters finished the game 1-for-22 with Yonathan Daza accounting for one single. Matt Adams also got in on the action with a pinch-hit double in the fifth inning, leading to the only real scoring threat of the afternoon as Raimel Tapia came to the plate with two outs and runners on second and third. Alas, Tapia grounded out to short and the Pirates escaped the threat.

Race for the top pick

On a day when it’s hard to find a bright side or silver lining, Rockies fans can take solace in the fact that the Pirates are competition for the worst record in the league. Getting swept by them in a doubleheader can only help the race to the top draft pick next year.

At 19-34, the Rockies now have the third worst record in MLB, leading only the Diamondbacks and Orioles after falling behind the Pirates today.

Up next

The Rockies will look to salvage one game in the series against the Pirates as they face off tomorrow at 11:05 a.m. MDT. Kyle Freeland gets the call for Colorado and will be making his second start of the year against TBD and the Pittsburgh Pirates. TBD is an unknown starter to the Rockies and has some pitches that have mysterious movement.