Nolan Arenado doubled home the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh inning on Sunday afternoon, leading the Colorado Rockies to a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, and a sweep of the three-game weekend home series with Pittsburgh (70-47).
Pittsburgh took a 2-0 lead early in Sunday’s contest on Pedro Alvarez’s 28th home run of the season and an RBI infield single by Andrew McCutchen, but the Rockies (55-64) earned a third-inning run on a hit batsman, a stolen base, a controversial balk and a sacrifice fly, and scored the tying tally in the sixth frame on a walk and two errors. The Pirates stranded the bases loaded in the ninth inning.
McCutchen, now batting .313, had two of Pittsburgh’s six hits. Brian Morris (5-5; 2.70 ERA) took the loss. Manny Corpas (1-2; 4.50 ERA) was the winning pitcher, and Rex Brothers earned his tenth save.
In the middle game of the series on Saturday night, the Rockies scored five runs off Pittsburgh starter A.J. Burnett (5-8; 2.95 ERA) in the sixth inning on their way to a 6-4 victory. Two run-scoring doubles and a pair of RBI singles chased Burnett. Another late rally by Pittsburgh fizzled, as the Pirates scored a ninth-inning run, but stranded two runners on the base paths.
The start of the game was held up by a nearly two-hour rain delay, and Colorado scored a second-inning run to take the early lead. Pittsburgh tied the game at 1-1 in the fourth inning as a Russell Martin double scored McCutchen, and the Pirates took the lead in the top of the sixth frame when Garrett Jones tripled home Martin and Jones scored on a single by Jose Tabata. After falling behind, the Bucs did scratch out another run in the ninth inning on an RBI single by Neil Walker.
Burnett lasted only five and two-thirds innings, threw 99 pitches, was charged with six runs (five earned) and eight hits, struck out eight batters and walked three. Martin recorded three of the Pirates’ ten hits, while Jones and Tabata both tallied two.
In Friday’s series opener, Colorado took advantage of the worst outing of Pittsburgh starter Francisco Liriano’s career and posted a 10-1 victory. The previous week’s National League Player-of-the-Week lasted just two and a-third innings, allowed 10 runs and 12 hits, and saw his earned run average soar from 2.02 to 2.83. Liriano’s 2013 record is now 12-5.
The Rockies finished with 16 hits, while Pittsburgh recorded 10, but the Pirates stranded 12 baserunners. Starling Marte went 4-for-4 for the Bucs, while Jordy Mercer recorded two hits and drove home his team’s lone run with a second-inning sacrifice fly.
The Pirates will enter the week with a three-game lead over St. Louis in the National League Central Division, and will play three games in St. Louis, beginning Tuesday night. The Cardinals (67-50) avoided a sweep by Chicago with an 8-4 victory over the Cubs on Sunday, and have won just two of their last seven games.