Baseball / Sports

Late pinch-hits from Snider, Harrison push Pirates over Rockies, 4-2

The Pirates' bats made up for their defense Friday.

Taking advantage of the Colorado Rockies' bullpen, Pittsburgh scored two runs in the eighth inning to secure a 4-2 win at PNC Park in their first game after the All-Star break.

The Pirates committed three errors, missed two other outs on defense and ran through a stop sign on the bases. Neither of the Rockies' runs was earned, and the defense forced Francisco Liriano and the Pirates'? relievers to work harder than they needed to.

Two pinch-hitters, Travis Snider and Josh Harrison, provided the go-ahead runs.

Right-hander Matt Belisle entered in the eighth inning with the game tied at 2. He had allowed runs in each of his previous two outings. Neil Walker promptly roped a single.

Walker ran on a pitch to Gaby Sanchez, and even after pausing to make sure Sanchez's line-drive single to center wasn't caught, Walker reached third. Snider drove Walker home with a double to right field that bounced past a diving Carlos Gonzalez.

Harrison, who entered the game in the seventh inning, extended the lead to 4-2 with a sacrifice fly to center, scoring pinch-runner Michael Martinez.

After several blunders and poor offensive production through the first six innings, the Pirates tied the game in the seventh.

Jordy Mercer singled off lefty Rex Brothers with one out and took second on a wild pitch. Nolan Arenado threw high on pinch-hitter Harrison's grounder to third, putting men on first and second. Gregory Polanco singled to load the bases, and Rockies manager Walt Weiss brought in righty Adam Ottavino to face Starling Marte.

Ottavino had Marte 0-2 before hitting him in the head with a 93 mph fastball, pounding Marte's helmet off and knocking him to the ground. Assistant athletic trainer Ben Potenziano examined Marte as he stayed down for a few minutes, but he eventually took his base. The hit batter forced home a run and tied the game at 2.

Andrew McCutchen struck out and Russell Martin flied out to strand the bases loaded.

Liriano allowed one unearned run in five innings, holding the Rockies to three hits. He walked three, two of them in a 27-pitch first inning, and struck out eight.

Liriano walked six batters in four innings in his previous start, his first appearance in more than a month after an oblique strain sent him to the disabled list. The control issues resurfaced in the first inning tonight, but only during that frame.

Leadoff man Corey Dickerson reached on a dribbled infield single. Liriano then walked Drew Stubbs, struck out Carlos Gonzalez and walked Troy Tulowitzki to load the bases.

He ran the count to 3-0 on Nolan Arenado, threw a strike, and got Arenado to ground into an inning-ending double play.

The Rockies loaded the bases again in the second inning, but the Pirates' defense, not Liriano, bore most of the responsibility. Charlie Culberson blooped a one-out single into shallow left field. Jordy Mercer bobbled DJ LeMahieu's grounder. Jorge De La Rosa bunted down the third base line. After initially pausing, Alvarez rushed and fielded the ball bare-handed but did not throw it.

Dickerson hit what could have been an inning-ending double play, but Mercer again booted the ball and only recorded one out. Liriano held the damage to one run by striking out Stubbs to end the inning.

In innings two through five, Liriano struck out seven and walked one. He batted in the bottom of the fifth inning at 95 pitches and grounded out, but Hurdle replaced him with Jared Hughes in the top of the sixth after the Pirates tied the game at 1.

Gregory Polanco dribbled a two-out infield single. Marte hit a ball down the left-field line that bounced past Dickerson, allowing Polanco to score from first. Marte rounded third, blew through third-base coach Nick Leyva's stop sign and was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.

Pedro Alvarez committed yet another throwing error that led to a run in the sixth. With two outs, he made a nice snag on Wilin Rosario's grounder but threw the ball high and wide of first. Culberson and LeMahieu each singled to right field and LeMahieu's hit scored Rosario from second to put the Rockies ahead, 2-1.

(c)2014 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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