DENVER (AP) – Nolan Arenado hit a go-ahead double in the seventh inning and the Colorado Rockies beat Pittsburgh 3-2 Sunday for a three-game sweep of the NL Central-leading Pirates.
The Pirates came to Coors Field this weekend with a five-game winning streak. They hold a three-game edge over St. Louis, and visit the Cardinals for a three-game series starting Tuesday night.
Pedro Alvarez homered for the Pirates.
The Rockies last swept a series April 16-18 against the Mets on their way to a 13-4 start. They have struggled the last two months to fall from the top of the NL West to out of the playoff race.
They bottomed out with a 1-9 road trip but bounced back against the streaking Pirates. Rookie Chad Bettis held Pittsburgh in check to keep his team in the game, and Arenado delivered with two outs and the score tied at 2.
With two outs, Wilin Rosario singled off reliever Bryan Morris (5-5). Arenado then doubled down the right-field line to score Rosario from first.
Matt Belisle pitched a perfect eighth before giving way to Rex Brothers, who worked a shaky ninth for his 10th save in 11 chances.
The Pirates loaded the bases with a single, double and intentional walk before Brothers got Alex Presley to pop out to third to end the game.
Alvarez showed no ill effects from taking a spike to his mitt from Dexter Fowler on Saturday. Alvarez hit the first pitch he saw from Bettis to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the second inning. It was his NL-leading 28th home run of the season.
Andrew McCutchen drove in Clint Barmes with an infield single in the third to make it 2-0.
The Rockies made it 2-1 in bottom of the inning when Charlie Blackmon scored on a sacrifice fly by DJ LeMahieu. They tied it in the sixth when Yorvit Torrealba scored on Alvarez’s throwing error at third base.
The error spoiled a solid outing and took a potential win away from Jeff Locke. The lefty allowed two runs – one earned – on three hits, struck out three and walked four in 5 2-3 innings. He left after Blackmon’s infield single that put runners at first and second with two outs.
Bettis had a better showing in his second career start, allowing just two runs on four hits and striking out three in six innings. The rookie dropped his ERA from 6.30 to 5.06 Sunday.
He missed out on his first major league win. Manuel Corpas (2-2) pitched a clean seventh inning to get the victory.
NOTES: Rockies OF Michael Cuddyer did not play due to illness. … Pirates LF Starling Marte was not in the lineup after getting hit with a pitch and having a bruised left hand. He came in as a pinch runner in the top of the ninth. … With the Pirates off Monday, rookie RHP Gerrit Cole will have his next start pushed back to Friday against Arizona as the Pirates monitor his innings. … Pirates RHP Charlie Morton (4-3) will start the opener of a three-game series against the Cardinals. … Colorado’s Jhoulys Chacin (10-5) will start Monday’s game against San Diego.
– By MICHAEL KELLY, Associated Press
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