It took Jorge De La Rosa (10-6, 3.31) 10 pitches to get Starling Marte to line-out sharply to Charlie Culberson and 32 pitches in all to navigate the bottom of the 1st. The lefty made it into but not out of the 5th inning on 91 pitches (59 strikes) as the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Colorado Rockies 5-2 Saturday evening at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. The Pirates’ Francisco Liriano (12-4, 2.02) meanwhile throttled Colorado for 7 innings, limiting them to 2 hits and striking-out 6 while walking 5.
De La Rosa was at 52 pitches in the bottom of the 3rd when Marte led-off with a single, stole 2nd, and moved to 3rd on a ground ball by Jordy Mercer. Mercer scored on a double by Andrew McCutcheon, but after stealing 3rd McCutcheon broke on contact with the Rockies infield in, and was out by 10 feet when Nolan Arenado snagged a sizzling 2-hopper of the bat of Gaby Sanchez and threw a strike to a waiting Wilin Rosario at home plate. DLR struck-out Tony Sanchez to escape further trouble. Jose Tabata took De La Rosa deep to lead-off the 4th, and in the 5th, at 83 pitches, the left-hander walked lead-off hitter Marte, who again stole 2nd, and surrendered a single to Mercer before giving way to Adam Ottavino. Ottavino stuck-out McCutcheon, but Gaby Sanchez singled-home Marte to make it 3-0 Pittsburgh.
The Pirates kept chipping away, adding runs off Ottavino in both the 6th and 7th, and Colorado came to the plate in the top of the 8th trailing 5-0. Corey Dickerson, in for Ottavino on a double switch, led-off with a seeing-eye infield single that eluded Mercer. Dexter Fowler knocked him to 2nd with a soft liner in front of Tabata, and Dickerson advanced to 3rd, Fowler to 2nd, on a grounder to 3rd by DJ LeMahieu. Dickerson scored on a single by Troy Tulowitzki, and Fowler scored when Michael Cuddyer chopped a seeing-eye single of his own that Pittsburgh 3rd-baseman Josh Harrison could do nothing with. Rosario followed and grounded-into an inning-ending double play, and that ended-up being that when Mark Melancon set the Rockies down 1-2-3 in the 9th.
There will be a rubber match in the 3-game weekend series back at PNC on Sunday afternoon. Right-handers Juan Nicasio (6-5, 4.92) of Colorado, and AJ Burnett of the Pirates will face-off in an 11:35 am MDT start.