ROCKIES 10, PIRATES 1: Liriano has rare bad outing in blowout loss
DENVER — At least the Pittsburgh Pirates were able to spare their bullpen a bit in a lopsided loss to the Colorado Rockies.
Wilin Rosario doubled and homered to drive in four runs, and the Rockies batted around in the first and second innings en route to beating the Pirates 10-1 on Friday night.
In snapping Pittsburgh’s five-game winning streak that began a week earlier with a win over the Rockies, Colorado scored double digits for the first time since also putting up 10 runs in a victory over Philadelphia two months ago. The game was out of reach when Pirates infielder Josh Harrison was summoned by manager Clint Hurdle to relieve Jared Hughes, getting pinch-hitter Corey Dickerson to fly out to left to close out the eighth.
It was the first relief appearance of Harrison’s career and marked the first time a Pirates position player had been used in a relief role since infielder Abraham Nunez got one out on May 30, 2004.
“Why bring any other pitcher in?” said Hurdle, also a former Rockies manager. “I’ve got a little experience here. You bring in another pitcher and he might end up facing four or five. We told him to keep it low and don’t get hurt. He said he didn’t get to work his cutter in.
“It’s a hard at-bat for the other guy. We wanted to preserve our pen for the two games we have left to play.”
Francisco Liriano (12-5) bore the brunt of the Rockies’ outburst in his first appearance at hitter-friendly Coors Field, allowing a career-high 10 runs on 12 hits in 2 1-3 innings, his shortest outing of the season.
“I was missing my spots a lot,” Liriano said. “The slider wasn’t sharp tonight either. Got behind in the count a lot. One of those days. Nothing was moving, nothing was sinking. I couldn’t get anything going.”
Jorge De La Rosa (11-6) went five innings, shaking off a blow near his pitching shoulder from Jordy Mercer’s comebacker and keeping the Pirates in check by working out of two bases-loaded jams early.
Pittsburgh, one of only three major league teams with at least 70 wins, lost for the first time in six games.
The Rockies had averaged just over a run per game during their skid, which included a 5-2 loss a week earlier at PNC Park in which Liriano got the win with seven scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 2.02. It increased to 2.83 after the second-chance shelling by the Rockies.
The Pirates opened the game with four consecutive singles off De La Rosa but failed to score. Leadoff man Starling Marte was picked off first base by De La Rosa after singling. Jordy Mercer, Andrew McCutchen and Russell Martin hit successive singles to load the bases but De La Rosa fanned Pedro Alvarez and got Gaby Sanchez on a groundout to end the inning.
Liriano retired the first batter he faced, Dexter Fowler, on a liner to short. But the next six Rockies batters reached on a walk and base hits, including RBI singles by Michael Cuddyer and Todd Helton, and Rosario’s two-run double.
Rosario turned on a 93 mph fastball for his 16th homer of the season during the Rockies’ five-run second inning.
“It was a tale of two innings,” Hurdle said. “We leave on six. They get two outs, they send five more hitters to the plate in the second inning. That’s where it got stretched out.”
Pittsburgh got a run on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Mercer in the second. After McCutchen walked to re-load the bases with two outs, Martin grounded out.
The Rockies added a final run in the third on a fielder’s choice by Cuddyer.
NOTES: After going 4-for-4 with a walk, Marte has a hit in each of his last six at bats. ... The Pirates dropped to 8-8 against NL West teams. ... Liriano’s personal three-game winning streak was snapped. ... Pittsburgh began a stretch where it plays 13 of 16 on the road. ... A.J. Burnett (5-7), who went the distance in beating the Rockies 5-1 last time out, is set to pitch tonight against Colorado’s Juan Nicasio (6-6).