Offense Comes Alive As Pirates Take Game, Series From Rockies

By Zane Heiple
Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
The Pittsburgh Pirates and Colorado Rockies faced off for the final time of the 2011 season in the rubber match of this three game series.  Xavier Paul made his first start in a Pirates’ uniform filling in for the injured Jose Tabata.  Charlie Morton started for the Pirates, while Ubaldo Jimenez was his mound opponent for the Rockies.
For the sixth game in a row, the Buccos’ offense struck first with a big four run second inning.  After a Ryan Doumit walk and a Pedro Alvarez single, Ronny Cedeno laid down a bunt along the first base line that scored Alvarez from third.  With two outs and runners on first and second, Paul hit a two-run triple to give Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead.  Garrett Jones added a double to put the Pirates up by four.
Todd Helton was able to get Colorado on the board when he hit a two-out single to left field, scoring Dexter Fowler from second to make it 4-1.  The Rockies added another run an inning later when pinch hitter Ryan Spilborghs singled home Fowler.  This spelled the end of the day for Jimenez who only went four innings, allowing four runs on six hits, with six K’s and four walks.
Pittsburgh had another big four run inning in the fifth.  Charlie Morton stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Lyle Overbay.  Andrew McCutchen singled up the middle, bringing home Alvarez.  After Paul walked to lad the bases for the second time in the inning, Jones hit a two-RBI single to centerfield, giving them an 8-2 lead.
Morton’s day ended during the sixth inning.  He didn’t have his best stuff today, but thanks to the offense scoring eight runs, the four runs he gave up did not hurt.  Mike Crotta came in and gave up a double to Dexter Fowler that scored two runs.  Joe Beimel entered the game to finish the sixth and then got three outs to maintain a four run lead into the eighth.
The third man out of the Pittsburgh bullpen was Jose Veras, and it would only take him nine pitches to record two strikeouts and a fly out to shut down ColoradoJoel Hanrahan came out and finished the day, getting three outs and allowing the Pirates to pick up the 8-4 win.
Batting and defense led the way on a day where the pitching was a little shaky at time.  It was great to see the Buccos take down the Rockies two out of three games this series after Colorado took three out of four in early April.  The win today marked the fourth road series win of 2011, which equals the amount they had for all of 2010. 
Hopefully this streak of road success will continue tomorrow as the Pirates head to San Diego for a three game series with the Padres.  James McDonald will get the ball to start game one of the series.
Record Vs. Rockies:  3-4
Record Vs. N.L. West: 4-6
Record On The Road: 9-7
Overall Record: 13-15
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!

Zane Heiple

Zane is Co-Editor of Fans From The Stands and a weekly contributor for Armchair Report on NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, and NCAA related topics. He's also the smartest man in the world. Just ask him.

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