PITTSBURGH, May 16—After ending their eight-game losing streak against the Cardinals while taking two of three in the series, the Pirates were hoping to continue the trend hosting the Rockies, but fate and the bullpen would fail them.
Paul Maholm was on the mound for the Bucs and despite giving up a few hard hit balls, held the Rockies scoreless through seven innings.
The problem for Pittsburgh is Jorge De La Rosa did much of the same for Colorado. The greatest early scoring threat was a shot over the left field wall by Jack Wilson that Ryan Spilborghs reached over the wall and robbed.
Finally in the bottom of the sixth Nate McLouth hit a two-out single and then stole second. Craig Monroe followed with his second hit of the game and McLouth scored from second just beating the throw home. Monroe moved to second on the throw. Adam LaRoche struck out to end the inning leaving the Pirates up 1-0.
Tyler Yates came on in relief immediately giving up a couple hits. Then on a questionable call, the Pirates won an appeal to the umpire, claiming the runner at third left early after the put out by Nyjer Morgan. Later replays suggested the runner had not left early.
The one run was all the scoring until the ninth as solid pitching, luck and defense lead the way.
In the ninth Matt Capps (0-3, 8.18 ERA) came on to pitch in the ninth and gave up three consecutive hits including a two-run homerun to Brad Hawpe, his sixth on the year. The closer continues to have troubles on the mound despite having a week's rest after complaining of phantom pain in his elbow after a previous bad outing.
Two outs later Matt Murton singled scoring Spilborghs from second, and the Rockies were up 3-1. The Pirates could not muster anything in the bottom of the ninth and that is how the game ended.
The Pirates batters have taken some criticism for their recent woes, but real problem still seems to be the relief pitching. Until the Pirates can find someone who can anchor the bullpen they will likely continue to struggle.
The Pirates host the Rockies again tomorrow at the same time. Aaron Cook (2-1, 5.03 ERA) gets the start for the Rockies and Ian Snell (1-5, 4.50 ERA) has his turn in the rotation for the Pirates.