Profar's go-ahead single lifts surging Rockies by struggling Pirates 4-3
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Jurickson Profar hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the top of the seventh inning and the Colorado Rockies rallied past the struggling Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 on Wednesday.
Less than 24 hours after homering twice in a 10-1 rout, Profar gave the Rockies their eighth win in 10 games by lacing a Robert Stephenson (0-1) pitch into left field to score Austin Wynns. Alan Trejo had two hits and an RBI for Colorado. Randal Grichuk added a run-scoring double as the Rockies earned their third-straight series win.
Brad Hand (2-1) earned the win in relief by inheriting a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the sixth and wiggling out of it. Pierce Johnson struck out Josh Palacios with the tying run on third in the ninth to record his sixth save in as many chances.
Andrew McCutchen went 3 for 3, including a two-run home run, for Pittsburgh. Tucupita Marcano added the third home run of his brief major-league career but the Pirates squandered an early 3-0 lead while losing for the ninth time in 10 games, taking much of the shine off their sparkling 20-8 start.
Pittsburgh's slide has coincided with an inability to deliver with runners on base. The Pirates had a great chance to break open a tie game in the sixth when they loaded the bases with no outs off Daniel Bard. Bard struck out Connor Joe then gave way to Hand. Pittsburgh's Jack Suwinski hit a shallow fly ball to centerfielder Brendton Doyle, who then threw a strike to Wynns at the plate to nail Bryan Reynolds, who was attempting to score from third.
The Rockies didn't squander the same opportunity in the seventh. The first four batters reached against Stephenson, Profar the last.
Colorado has steadied itself in May after a dreadful April, but the Rockies starting rotation may have taken another hit when Antonio Senzatela exited in the third inning after surrendering McCutchen's 294th career home run.
There was no immediate word on the nature of the injury. Senzatela underwent surgery last August to repair a torn ACL in his left knee.
Colorado is already missing opening-day starter German Marquez — lost for the rest of the season with a right elbow injury — and rookie Noah Davis, who is on the injured list with elbow issues of his own.
Pittsburgh starter Rich Hill lasted just 3 2/3 innings, his shortest appearance of the season. The 43-year-old cruised into the fourth before things got away from him. Colorado scored three runs with two outs, abetted by a Hill fielding error that extended the inning.
Rockies: RHP Tyler Kinley (right elbow surgery) is “a little ahead of schedule” in his rehab according to manager Bud Black. There's a chance Kinley, who had surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon last July, could be back before the All-Star break.
Pirates: RHP Vince Velasquez (right elbow inflammation) has resumed throwing and is scheduled to pitch a live batting practice next week. ... The swelling in SS Oneil Cruz's fractured left ankle has subsided a month removed from surgery. The team remains optimistic Cruz will be able to return by mid-to-late summer.
Rockies: Return home for a three-game weekend series against Philadelphia starting Friday. Austin Gomber (3-4, 6.75 ERA) will seek his fourth straight victory in the opener.
Pirates: Are off Thursday before starting a five-game, six-day road trip in Baltimore on Friday. Johan Oviedo (2-3, 5.59) gets the start in the first game at Camden Yards.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Will Graves, The Associated Press