DENVER (AP) – The Pittsburgh Pirates flew into Colorado on a roll. Now they just want to leave with a win.
Nolan Arenado bounced back from a benching with three hits, including a home run, and the Colorado Rockies beat the Pirates 8-1 on Saturday night.
The Pirates had won six of eight before getting to Coors Field, but they have struggled against the Rockies. They have managed just two runs in the first two games and allowed 16.
“They’ve pitched it better than us. They’ve hit it better than us. They’ve fielded it better than us the last two nights,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
Pittsburgh is in danger of being swept in Colorado for the second straight season a week after they did that to the Rockies at PNC Park. Colorado’s starters were sharp in that series before the Pirates rallied against the bullpen each game.
This weekend, the Rockies have gotten strong outings from the entire staff.
“We saw back-to-back guys last week and they were both very effective in (Brett) Anderson and (Tyler) Matzek tonight,” Hurdle said. “Again, good pitching beats good hitting.”
Ike Davis denied Colorado its first shutout at Coors Field this season with a one-out homer in the ninth.
It was a bounce-back performance for Arenado, who was removed from Friday’s game when he didn’t hustle down the line on a grounder to the pitcher in the fourth inning.
Arenado met with manager Walt Weiss before Saturday’s game and said he agreed with the decision.
The 2013 Gold Glove winner took out any frustration he might have had on Pirates starter Jeff Locke. Arenado delivered RBI singles in the third and fifth innings and then hit a solo home run in the seventh, his eighth of the year.
Dickerson added a two-out solo homer to chase Locke (2-2).
“I was just not 100 percent sharp,” he said. “It’s a good hitting team. It just goes to show if they could pitch like they hit here, they wouldn’t be 15 1-2 back, that’s for sure.”
That was more than enough for Matzek (2-4), who continued a recent string of strong starts for Colorado. The Rockies’ rotation had allowed 13 earned runs in its last 44 innings entering Saturday, and Matzek added to that with seven shutout innings to get his first win since his major league debut against Atlanta on June 11.
Stubbs made it 2-0 with a leadoff homer in the fourth, his 11th, but rolled his right foot on the swing and left the game in the fifth.
Colorado added two more runs in the fifth on Arenado’s second run-scoring single and Dickerson’s bases-loaded groundout.
“There were some good sequences. Mistakes were made over the plate,” Hurdle said of Locke. “They didn’t miss.”
Matzek made it hold up with the strongest start of his brief career. He pitched around a leadoff double in the fourth, and a double play got him out of a two-on, one-out jam in the seventh.
Josh Rutledge added a two-run single in the eighth – his third hit of the night – to make it 8-0.
Locke allowed six runs and 10 hits, and struck out six in 6 2-3 innings.
NOTES: Hurdle said RHP Gerrit Cole (right lat strain), who is scheduled to make his first rehab start Monday for Triple-A Indianapolis and throw about 80 pitches, will make a second rehab start to get his pitch count up to 100. … Pittsburgh 3B Pedro Alvarez (sore left knee) wasn’t in the starting lineup for the fourth straight game. … Pirates C Russell Martin drew two walks. It was his second straight multi-walk game.
– By MICHAEL KELLY, Associated Press
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