Baseball / Sports

Pirates cap sweep with 5-3 win over Rockies

PITTSBURGH -- Busting out the brooms and actually securing sweeps has been one of the biggest issues for the Pirates this season.

Today, the brooms finally got the chance to come out as the Pirates were able to finish off a sweep by beating the Colorado Rockies in the series finale, 5-3, at PNC Park.

The Rockies were without a considerable amount of firepower in their lineup. Most notably missing was NL batting average leader Troy Tulowitzki, who left Saturday's game with a quad cramp. Also missing were outfielders Corey Dickerson and Charlie Blackmon and first baseman Justin Morneau.

It mattered very little out of the gate. Pirates starter Jeff Locke got off to a rocky start after walking left fielder Brandon Barnes, which was immediately followed by a home run by shortstop Josh Rutledge on a 1-2 pitch.

Catcher Michael McKenry, who was a fan favorite of Pirates fans when he played for them from 2011-13, hit a solo home run to left field to make it 3-0.

McKenry's shot kept the Rockies on top temporarily when the Pirates began to make the climb back. First baseman Gaby Sanchez and second baseman Neil Walker both singled to start the bottom of the third.

That was followed by another single by shortstop Jordy Mercer, who drove both in to cut the lead to 3-2.

It appeared catcher Chris Stewart tied the game in the second by driving in Mercer, but the run was taken away in a bizarre circumstance. The ball dribbled down the third-base line and rolled under the padding on the left-field wall. Barnes did not raise his hands to signal a ground-rule double and proceeded to play the ball while Mercer raced around to score.

Manager Clint Hurdle met with the umpires on the field, but it was to no avail as Mercer was sent back to third. Locke then struck out and Gregory Polanco grounded out to end the inning.

After the barrage of runs to start the game, it got quiet on both ends of the pitching battle. Locke allowed just three more hits the rest of the way before being pulled in the sixth inning for left fielder Starling Marte, who pinch-hit for him.

Rockies starter Tyler Matzek was just as effective for most of the game after giving up the two runs in the second. It wasn't until the sixth -- after he had pitched three consecutive scoreless innings -- when Stewart drove in Mercer on another ground-rule double.

Though Andrew McCutchen was silent for most of the game, he made his presence felt in front of 35,609 fans by driving in Josh Harrison on a single to center to make it 4-3.

Closer Mark Melancon retired all three batters he faced to close out the game.

(c)2014 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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