Maholm Gives Up Early Lead, Pirates’ Offense Quiet In Loss To Rockies

By Chad Carlson
Photo Credit: AP
After taking the first game of the three-game series in Colorado, the Pittsburgh Pirates were back at it again Saturday night in hopes of clinching the series victory in the first two games.  Paul Maholm took the hill for the Pirates, coming off his first victory of the season.  The Rockies sent Jason Hammel to the mound, who was looking for his third win of the year. 
Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, the offense was limited on Saturday, and the Rockies’ offense had the one big inning that proved to be too much as the Buccos dropped the game in Colorado, 4-1.
All of the scoring in this one occurred in the first two innings of the game.  Hammel’s day didn’t start off quite the way he would have hoped, as he gave up a solo homerun to Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen on the first batter of the game.  Cutch drove a 2-1 fastball deep over the centerfield fence, giving the Buccos a 1-0 lead.
As it turned out, that would be the only run the Pirates would score on the evening.  Hammel put the homerun behind him and shut down the Buccos, for the most part, for the rest of the night.  The Rockies’ starter gave up just the one run on six hits, while striking out four and walking only two through seven innings of work.
Colorado’s offense, while not exactly the exhibiting the explosiveness against the Pirates that they’ve done in years past, came through when it counted last night.  Chris Iannetta was the hitting star of the day for the Rockies.  After a Seth Smith RBI single tied the game 1-1 in the second inning, Iannetta blasted a three-run homerun to deep right centerfield off Maholm, giving the Rockies a 4-1 lead, which would end up being the final score.
As for Maholm, he pitched a decent ballgame, giving his team a chance to come back, but the one big inning proved to be too much to overcome.  Paul pitched seven innings, giving up four runs on seven hits, with three walks and three strikeouts.  His ERA sits at 4.14, and he fell to 1-4 on the season.
Saturday’s game falls into a category that we, as Pirates’ fans, have seen too often already in this early 2011 season.  One bad inning dooms the club.  Again, as we’ve said numerous times this year, the Pirates are not the type of baseball team who can get behind early and make a big comeback on a consistent basis.  Maholm is not to blame for this loss.  He did give up the big hit to Iannetta, but four runs in the second inning shouldn’t be a backbreaker.  The Pirates’ offense needs to do more.
McCutchen went 2-4 including the homerun, and his average has climbed back up slightly to .219.  Neil Walker added two more hits on Saturday, keeping his average above the .300 mark, while Pedro Alvarez put up another goose egg at the plate.
The Pirates and Rockies will take the field on Sunday in the rubber match of the series, which will be the Buccos’ third straight such series.  Charlie Morton will get the start for the Pirates, facing off against the RockiesUbaldo Jimenez.
Record Vs. Rockies: 2-4
Record Vs. N.L. West: 3-6
Record On The Road: 8-7
Overall Record: 12-15
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!

Chad Carlson

Co-Editor of Fans From The Stands, Pirates' Beat Writer For Armchair Report, Sports writer for AMN, SteelTownRock And Music City Encore Editor

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