Rockies fall to Bucs, drop to 2-16 on road
PITTSBURGH – Seeing the Pittsburgh Pirates score more than a handful of runs was so comforting to pitcher Mark Redman and manager Lloyd McClendon, they almost relaxed. Almost.Rob Mackowiak hit a three-run homer to back Redman’s latest strong start and the Pirates extended Colorado’s season-long road miseries, bouncing back from two straight last-inning losses to win 9-4 Friday night.Matt Lawton, previously in a 4-for-36 slump, added a solo homer and a two-run single in a six-run seventh inning against Rockies starter Jamey Wright (2-4) and reliever Byung-Hyun Kim, with Kim giving up five runs and five hits.”It seems like he does that each time I tell him he needs a day off,” McClendon said of Lawton, who has started every game. “He hasn’t even gotten going yet, but he’s been very steady.”After having each of their previous five games decided by two runs or fewer, the Pirates broke out with their second-highest output of the season. They scored more than six runs for only the fourth time in 39 games.”We’ve been waiting for a game like this for quite some time now,” McClendon said. “I almost relaxed for 30 seconds there. You like to have some nice, easy wins.”The Pirates won their 10th in 15 games but just their sixth in 18 home games in a matchup of the teams with the NL’s fewest wins at home and on the road. The Rockies are a major league-worst 2-16 away from Coors Field.Pittsburgh closer Jose Mesa lost ninth-inning leads in each of the Pirates’ previous two home games, one-run losses Tuesday and Wednesday to the Cubs.Redman (3-3) was denied his third consecutive complete game, but limited the Rockies to two runs and four hits in 6 1-3 innings. He has allowed three earned runs or fewer in each of his nine starts since being traded by Oakland during the offseason.”I haven’t tried to dwell on it, but I’ve been able to get on a roll and I’m trying to keep it up,” Redman said.But Redman didn’t feel comfortable until shortly after he was lifted with a 3-2 lead in the seventh. The Pirates have scored only 17 runs while he’s been on the mound.The Pirates not only played their ninth consecutive errorless game, they benefited from some more leaky defense by the Rockies, who began the game with an NL-high 31 errors and committed two more, both by Wright.The first, a dropped throw on a grounder in the second, proved harmless. But the second, Wright’s wild throw on Jose Castillo’s potential inning-ending, double-play grounder in the fourth, allowed Mackowiak to hit. He homered on the next pitch to make it 3-0.”You get what you’re looking for, a comebacker right to you – a play you’ve worked on all spring training – and at this level you’ve got to make that play, you’ve got to turn a double play,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “And then to throw a three-run homer the next pitch, that’s very difficult to swallow for him and us.”Hurdle will return to Denver on Saturday to be with his ill 2-year-old daughter, Madison Reilly, who is hospitalized following a series of seizures Friday. She has Prader-Willi Syndrome, a complex genetic disorder.With Hurdle gone, bench coach Jamie Quirk will run the club Saturday.Wright began the game with a 1.37 road ERA that was the NL’s second-lowest before allowing four runs, three earned, in six-plus innings. Wright has given up 11 runs, seven earned, in 12 innings in his last two starts, but was more concerned Friday with his major defensive lapse.”I don’t mess that play up too often but it changed the whole complexion of the game,” he said.After Wright was lifted following Lawton’s homer, Jack Wilson tripled against Kim, who stayed in to allow run-scoring singles by Castillo, Tike Redman, pinch-hitter Bobby Hill and Lawton to jump his ERA to 7.65.The Pirates got a combined seven hits from two players who began the game with averages in the .100s: Tike Redman, who went 4-for-4, and Wilson, who had his second consecutive three-hit game.Garrett Atkins and Cory Sullivan homered for Colorado. Sullivan, a former Pittsburgh-area high school player, hit a pinch-hit shot in the eighth for his first career homer.Notes: Colorado has lost 10 of 11 on the road. … The Rockies and Pirates were the only teams not playing an interleague game Friday. The Pirates were 2-10 against the AL last season. … Wright has 14 errors in his career. … Wright is 1-5 at PNC Park and 4-10 against Pittsburgh. … Atkins is 12-for-26 with four homers and eight RBIs in his last eight games. … The Rockies didn’t win any of their previous five series at PNC Park.
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