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Bucs go over .500, beat Rox for 6th straight win

MLB.com

DENVER -- Pirates first baseman Josh Bell didn't waste time. His first two swings Friday night produced four runs. Otherwise, Bucs hitters forced Rockies rookie Jeff Hoffman into 82 excruciating pitches over three-plus innings, scoring seven runs in a 13-5 victory at Coors Field.

With their six-game winning streak, the Pirates are two games behind the National League Central-leading Brewers and are over .500 for the first time since April 10.

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DENVER -- Pirates first baseman Josh Bell didn't waste time. His first two swings Friday night produced four runs. Otherwise, Bucs hitters forced Rockies rookie Jeff Hoffman into 82 excruciating pitches over three-plus innings, scoring seven runs in a 13-5 victory at Coors Field.

With their six-game winning streak, the Pirates are two games behind the National League Central-leading Brewers and are over .500 for the first time since April 10.

View Full Game Coverage

Bell, who had a career-high four hits, hit Hoffman's first offerings for an RBI single in the first and a three-run double in the second. Andrew McCutchen added three hits and three RBIs, and Jordy Mercer's two-run homer in the sixth off Rockies reliever Jordan Lyles traveled a projected 444 feet, according to Statcast™. The Pirates pounded a season-high 18 hits.

Video: PIT@COL: Bell gets four hits, tallies four RBIs

"You look up at the top of the sixth and your starting pitcher's hit four times," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Can't count the times that's happened while I was a manager. Everybody found a way on base, everybody contributed."

• Top of Bucs' lineup thrives in altitude at Coors

Video: PIT@COL: Mercer crushes a two-run homer to left field

The Rockies saw their win streak end at four games. Their loss, coupled with the D-backs' 6-5 victory over the Nationals, saw them fall out a tie with Arizona for the top NL Wild Card spot. Third baseman Nolan Arenado drove in two runs, one on his 22nd homer of the season, increasing his NL-leading RBI total to 82.

While Bell hunted first pitches, the Pirates used a patient approach to produce nine hits and four walks against Hoffman (6-2).

"He really couldn't establish the fastball and curveball, which really is his bread and butter," Rockies manager Bud Black said.

• Hoffman loses fastball command vs. Pirates

The Rockies took a 3-2 lead after one inning, but Pirates starter Trevor Williams (4-4) settled in and was charged with five runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.

"You just go back out there for that second inning," Williams said of his poor first frame. "That first inning, I was trying to feel what I had tonight. What was working, what wasn't working, and unfortunately, I was going 1-0, 2-0 to a lot of hitters."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
For him, the Bell tolls: The Pirates regained the lead for good with Bell's bases-clearing double. The three Pirates in front of Bell reached against Hoffman through two walks and a hit by pitch, and Bell capitalized. He matched a career high with four RBIs, a mark he set last Friday vs. the Cardinals.

Video: PIT@COL: Bell opens the scoring with an RBI single

He's off, man: Hoffman not only struggled on the hill, but also at the plate. In the second inning, after the Pirates took the lead through Bell's double, Rockies catcher Tony Wolters led off with a double. Hoffman was asked to bunt, which he did, but the Rockies starter left the bunt close enough to the plate that catcher Francisco Cervelli fielded it and threw Wolters out at third. The Rockies did not advance past second base until Arenado's solo home run in the seventh.

Video: PIT@COL: Cervelli gets lead runner on bunt attempt

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
There's no way to parse Hoffman's struggles into a positive, but Statcast™ suggests it could've been a better night. According to strike zone imaging, eight Hoffman borderline pitches were ruled balls. Four of those were first pitches, which meant Hoffman was forced to pitch from behind in the count.

THAT'LL LEAVE A MARK
Colorado's pitchers tied a club record by hitting four Pirates hitters, the fourth time that has occurred in Rockies franchise history. The last time they hit four was against the Dodgers on April 24, 2005.

WHAT'S NEXT
Pirates: The Pirates will send young righty Chad Kuhl (3-6, 4.85 ERA) to the mound against the Rockies, one start after striking out a career-high seven batters. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. ET, as the Pirates look to make it seven straight wins.

Rockies: Right-hander German Marquez (7-4, 4.34 ERA) pitched five innings and earned a victory over the Pirates at PNC Park on June 14 -- the Rox's only win over the Bucs this season. Marquez will aim to put the Rockies back in the win column against the Pirates on Saturday at 6:10 p.m. MT at Coors Field.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Pirates on Friday.