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By Zane Heiple
Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
The Pittsburgh Pirates headed west after finishing 3-3 during a six game home stand.  For the first three games of this six game west coast swing, the Buccos take on the red hot Rockies.  Colorado came into this series with a Major League best record of 16-7 and had taken three of four from the Pirates early this month.  Pittsburgh sent their ace Kevin Correia, who was sporting a 3-2 record and an ERA of 3.48, to the hill.  His mound opponent was Jhoulys Chacin, who came in with a 3-1 record and a 2.67 ERA.
The Pirates continued a trend of getting on the board first, when Andrew McCutchen hit a solo homerun in the third inning.  This was Cutch’s fourth homerun of the year and ended the 0-16 slump he was in at the plate.  Garrett Jones blasted his fifth homerun on the season to give Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead in the sixth.
Ronny Cedeno, who had a great game defensively, hit the Pirates’ first triple of the season in the seventh inning.  This three-bagger scored Pedro Alvarez from first and put the Buccos on top 3-0.  The bottom of the inning saw Jose Tabata rob Todd Helton of an extra base hit with a leaping catch at the leftfield wall.
Correia pitched great tonight and was taken out of the game with two outs in the seventh inning after he threw his 106th pitch.  His final line of the night was zero runs on three hits, with one walk and four strikeouts.  Jose Veras came out of the bullpen to get the final out of the seventh, a strikeout of Jose Lopez.
Chris Reop worked the eighth inning for the Buccos and allowed one hit, while striking out the side.  Three runs were more than enough for Joel Hanrahan to close the game and earn his eighth save of the year, which is second in the National League.
This was a great way for the Pirates to start the road trip.  While the offense didn’t light up the scoreboard, they had timely hits and drove two balls out of the ballpark.  The pitching was phenomenal tonight, starting with Correia going all the way to the bullpen.  The errors that plagued the Pirates during the Giants’ series were non-existent tonight as the defense made the routine as well as the spectacular plays.
These teams will battle again tomorrow night at 8:10, with Paul Maholm looking to bounce back from a rough home opener against the Rockies.  Colorado will counter with Jason Hammel
Record Vs. Rockies: 2-3
Record Vs. N.L. West: 3-5
Record On The Road: 8-6
Overall Record: 12-14
And…
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!