Baseball / Sports

Pirates get road trip off to rocky start in Colorado

DENVER -- The Pirates did not stick to the script Friday night.

A week after mounting three consecutive comeback wins against the Colorado Rockies at PNC Park, they were roughed up, 8-1, at Coors Field to open a 10-game West Coast swing.

The Rockies led, 1-0, early, but broke open the game with a prolific, seven-run seventh inning.

Charlie Morton gave up a run on back-to-back doubles to open the inning, but the Rockies feasted on reliever Ernesto Frieri to run away with it.

Frieri gave up four earned runs on three hits, including a bases-clearing double by Josh Rutledge and a two-run home run by Carlos Gonzalez.

The Pirates were in position to gain a bit of ground in the National League Central Division with Milwaukee, St. Louis and Cincinnati each losing Friday, but dropped to 54-48 instead.

The struggling Rockies improved to 42-60.

The Pirates mounted few threats with Rockies left-hander Brett Anderson on the mound, despite being at hitter friendly Coors Field.

Anderson was cruising along through 6 1/3 innings of two-hit ball when he walked Russell Martin and was removed after a visit by the trainer.

Enter reliever Tommy Kahnle, who got Jordy Mercer to fly out to left field before striking out Pedro Alvarez. Alvarez entered the game to pinch-hit for Brent Morel.

Anderson finished his outing at 102 pitches, giving up just the two hits. He walked four and struck out one.

Morton was solid through six, before giving up three earned runs in the seventh.

He finished his outing at six innings, giving up seven hits and four earned runs. He walked one and struck out three.

The Pirates did little in terms of run support for Morton.

Martin was the only player to reach base through four innings, drawing a two-out walk in the second before being stranded.

The Rockies took the lead in the third.

Outfielder Gregory Polanco got his first taste of Coors Field when D.J. LeMahieu tripled off Morton to the corner in right. The ball got there quickly then caromed toward center. Polanco turned to scramble for it as LeMahieu reached third.

Rutledge drove in LeMahieu with a two-out double.

The Pirates' best shot with Anderson still on the mound came when Neil Walker singled to open the fifth and Martin followed with a walk to put two runners on for the first time.

Jordy Mercer hit into a 5-6-3 double play that was nearly a triple play.

A challenge -- which took three minutes, 16 seconds -- confirmed that Martin was safe at second when LeMahieu was pulled off the bag because of the throw.

Anderson intentionally walked Morel and got Morton to groundout to end the inning.

Andrew McCutchen dropped in a two-out single in the sixth, but was stranded.

The ugly seventh began when Morton surrendered back-to-back doubles to open the inning. Frieri inherited two runners, gave up an RBI single, a bases-clearing double and two-run homer.

And that was that.

Anderson held the Pirates to one run on four hits through seven innings a week ago at PNC Park.

But that familiarity did not help Friday night at Coors Field.

"We know what it feels like to see their pitches from the box," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said before the game before admitting the challenge will be there if Anderson executes the way he did a week ago.

Morton carried a 2-0 career record with a 3.16 ERA against the Rockies into the meeting.

The Pirates will send left-hander Jeff Locke (2-1, 3.05 ERA) to the mound tonight to face another left-hander in Tyler Matzek (1-4, 4.91 ERA).

Edinson Volquez (8-7, 3.86 ERA) is the probable pitcher Sunday for the series finale. The Rockies have not announced who their starter will be.

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