Five-run sixth lifts Rockies past Bucs
Soon after Pittsburgh takes lead, Colorado responds with flurry
DENVER -- What Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler could not do with his bat, he did with his right foot Saturday night.
Fowler's two-run sixth-inning single gave the Rockies a lead, and Fowler stomped the ball out of the glove of Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez to create another run. The plays were part of a five-run inning that led the Rockies to their second straight victory over the Pirates, 6-4, at Coors Field in front of 40,728.
"We got some clutch hits and put together some clutch at-bats against some real good pitching," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.
The evening started with a one-hour, 48-minute rain delay, then grew into a lively affair that also included fireworks starring Pirates manager -- and onetime Rockies skipper -- Clint Hurdle, who drew cheers from Pittsburgh and Denver partisans after being ejected for arguing a call during the seventh inning.
In the end, Fowler's 2-for-4 night helped the Rockies earn a second straight win for the first time since they beat the Cubs on July 20-21. The Rockies dropped two of three against the National League Central-leading Pirates at PNC Park last weekend, but they have taken the first two of the series at Coors, which concludes Sunday afternoon.
"For us right now, it's irrelevant who it's against," said outfielder Michael Cuddyer, whose hustle on the bases contributed to the five-run sixth. "Obviously, it's nice. But we need to win no matter who's across the diamond, no matter who's on the mound.
"To be able to win in a comeback fashion like tonight is nice, and maybe it's going to get us to start believing in ourselves again."
Rockies starter Juan Nicasio and Pirates starter A.J. Burnett (5-8) entered the sixth with the game tied at 1. The Pirates' Garrett Jones broke the tie with a two-out RBI triple, then scored on Jose Tabata's infield single for a 3-1 lead. Wilton Lopez (2-4) forced Jordy Mercer to fly out to center to end the inning.
After lasting just four and 4 1/3 innings in his last two starts -- the latter in a loss to the Pirates -- Nicasio was much better Saturday.
"I'm happy," Nicasio said. "It's bad when you make a mistake and you pay -- two strikes [to Jones], I threw a slider and hung it for a triple. But I'm happy because the team won."
Cuddyer opened the bottom of the sixth with a single and helped spark the rally when he daringly took second when Wilin Rosario popped to center for the second out.
"At that point it's 3-1 in the sixth inning -- get in scoring position so we can get a big hit, which we did," Cuddyer said. "Of course I didn't know it was going to lead to a five-run inning."
Nolan Arenado doubled Cuddyer home. Burnett pitched around Jonathan Herrera before pinch-hitter Charlie Blackmon tied the game with an RBI double.
Fowler came up with runners at second and third and singled to right to drive both home and give the Rockies a 5-3 lead.
Corey Dickerson followed with a single to left. Fowler hustled around second, and Starling Marte's throw to third beat him by a long shot. But Fowler slid hard, with his right foot landing on the wrist and hand of Alvarez. The glove fell off Alvarez's hand, and the ball rolled toward the photo well beside the Pirates' dugout. Alvarez was charged with an error as Fowler scored.
"Dexter got the big one to put us ahead and created an opportunity by sliding into third and kicking the ball away," Weiss said. "But I don't think he intended to kick it away. It just ended up he slid in hard and created a run there. There was a lot of good stuff."
Pirates trainers bandaged Alvarez's left index finger, where a spike from Fowler's shoe landed, and Alvarez stayed in the game.
"But he was able to stay in the game, and he took swings and we'll see how he feels tomorrow," Hurdle said.
With Rockies reliever Josh Outman pitching and two on in the seventh, Neil Walker grounded to the mound. Outman threw to shortstop Troy Tulowitzki at second, who relayed to first for a double play. Hurdle sprinted from the Pirates' dugout to protest that Tulowitzki was not on the bag, and he did so with such flair and vim that second-base umpire Adrian Johnson ejected him.
After the game, Hurdle acknowledged that he did not see the play correctly.
"I trust my eyes, and my eyes were wrong," Hurdle said. "I went out there, and I really felt confident he was off the bag. Adrian made the right call."
Rockies closer Rex Brothers walked ninth-inning leadoff man Gaby Sanchez and gave up a run when Walker singled Sanchez home with one out. But Brothers fanned Andrew McCutchen and Alvarez for his ninth save.