MLB: Pirates get off to a bad start on road trip
DENVER — This time the Pittsburgh Pirates could not overcome a great outing from Brett Anderson.
Anderson pitched effectively into the seventh inning for his first win in more than a year and the Colorado Rockies beat the Pirates 8-1 on Friday night.
It was the second straight start Anderson stymied Pittsburgh. A week ago at PNC Park the Pirates were able to win it in the 11th inning, but on Friday starter Charlie Morton faltered in the seventh when the Rockies put it away.
“I thought I was pitching well,” Morton said. “It was in the seventh that it got away.”
Carlos Gonzalez homered and Josh Rutledge had two hits and drove in four runs for Colorado, which has won consecutive games for just the second time in the last six weeks. The Rockies are 16-40 since May 20 but cooled off the Pirates, who entered Friday 44-29 since starting the season 10-18.
Anderson (1-3) had not won since beating Houston on April 7, 2013, in his last start for Oakland. He spent four months on the disabled list and moved to the A’s bullpen when he returned.
He was winless in three April starts for Colorado before a broken left index finger put him on the shelf for 81 games.
Friday was his third start since coming back and he allowed just two hits in 6 1-3 innings before a blister began to develop on his left index finger. He has allowed just one run and six hits in 13 1-3 innings in two starts against Pittsburgh.
“I’m glad we don’t have to see him anymore,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “He’s been as effective as any pitcher we’ve seen this season.”
Tommy Kahnle came on and got the last two outs and the Rockies broke it open in the bottom of the inning off Morton (5-10).
Ben Paulsen and Wilin Rosario led off with consecutive doubles and DJ LeMahieu singled. Ernesto Frieri relieved Morton and pinch-hitter Drew Stubbs bounced a grounder over the pulled-in infield for an RBI double. An intentional walk to Charlie Blackmon loaded the bases and Rutledge cleared them with a double to center.
One out later Gonzalez hit his 10th homer of the season to make it 8-0.
“He pitched a good ballgame through six and the seventh got away from him,” Hurdle said of Morton. “Frieri came in and wasn’t able to quite execute the pitches he needed to so they piled up seven on us.”
The Pirates got their lone run on a sacrifice fly in the ninth, by Neil Walker.
The Rockies nearly pulled off a triple play in the fifth after Walker led off the inning with Pittsburgh’s first hit of the game.
With runners on first and second, Jordy Mercer hit a sharp grounder to third baseman Charlie Culberson, who stepped on the bag but his throw to second pulled Rutledge’s foot off the base. Rutledge’s relay to first got Mercer, and after a 3-minute, 16-second review the call at second was confirmed.
With his hit Walker has reached base in 22 straight games. It’s the longest active streak in the majors.
NOTES: Pirates 3B Pedro Alvarez was not in the starting lineup for the third straight game because of left knee discomfort. He pinch-hit in the seventh and stayed in the game. ... Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole (right lat soreness) will start at Triple-A Indianapolis on Monday.