AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
A lucky break with a ball bouncing off the bag and a ninth inning error were the breaks the Rockies needed to stop their 8 game losing streak against the Pirates. A solid pitching performance from Tyler Chatwood who now officially holds the franchise record for scoreless innings on the road at 28.1. In the end, the Rockies pulled out a 5-1 win.
The Rockies got the scoring started early when Trevor Story hustled out an infield single. Then with two outs, Mary Reynolds kept up his terrific 2016 campaign with a run scoring double that put the Rockies up 1-0. From there Chatwood was able to control the game and extend his scoreless streak.
Chatwood’s streak would eventually end in the fourth inning. Jung Ho Kang started the inning with a double, but Chatwood was able to get the next two batters out. There was a close call when Matt Joyce came to the plate. With Kang on third, Joyce hit a grounder to DJ LeMahieu. DJ came home with the ball and Kang appeared to reach the plate in time, but a terrific play by Tony Wolters who blocked the plate legally kept Kang’s hand from reaching the base. The slide by Kang is a prime example of why you shouldn’t slide headfirst into home. His hand was not able to force its way past Wolter’s leg, plus he would later leave with an injury to that hand because of the slide at home. It worked out well for the Rockies though. The Pirates would still score in the inning when Jordy Mercer singled to left center, scoring Joyce.
Both starters would settle in after allowing their runs. Jon Niese would end up going 7 innings with only four hits allowed and that one run in the first. Chatwood went 6 innings and gave up 6 hits with only one run allowed. Both pitchers had good games and this game looked like it could go either way.
The ninth inning came around and both teams were tied at 1-1. Pirates closer Mark Melancon came to pitch the ninth, as is expected when the game is tied. He got a quick two outs, both on strikeouts, and the Rockies looked like they would go quick in the ninth. Gerrardo Parra then came to the plate and dribbled a ball out in front of home that looked like a routine play for catcher Francisco Cervelli. Cervelli picked it up, collected himself, and fired a ball to first. But it was off line and Parra was able to move up to second on the error. Daniel Descalso then walked and two men were on for Tony Wolters. Wolters is hitting only .192 on the season, but he caught a break. With a ball hit down the line, the ball skipped off the bag and Jon Jaso was unable to gather the ball. It went as a single for Wolters and both runners would score to give the Rockies the 3-1 lead.
That would end the night for Melancon, but the Rockies were not done scoring. Cristhian Adames came up to the plate and with one on, he hit his first home run of his career to straight away center. That would be plenty for Jake McGee who would come in and close the game out, but not without making it a little bit interesting as two Pirates reached.
The win was needed for the Rockies who have struggled against the Pirates in recent history. They will look to win the series on Sunday with Chad Bettis on the mound. He will face Juan Nicasio in the rubber match for an early afternoon game.