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Top of Bucs' lineup thrives in altitude at Coors

Pirates' Nos. 1-4 hitters combine for 10 hits, seven RBIs vs. Rockies
MLB.com

DENVER -- The Pirates have found copious offensive success at Coors Field recently, and that trend continued in Friday's 13-5 win over the Rockies, largely thanks to the top of the Bucs' lineup.

Starling Marte, Josh Harrison and Andrew McCutchen entered the series opener with already-cartoonish stats in Colorado. But they boosted their numbers on Friday by combining to go 6-for-14 with nine runs scored and three RBIs. Throw in cleanup hitter Josh Bell's career high four hits and four RBIs and that goes up to 10-for-20 with 10 runs and seven RBIs.

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DENVER -- The Pirates have found copious offensive success at Coors Field recently, and that trend continued in Friday's 13-5 win over the Rockies, largely thanks to the top of the Bucs' lineup.

Starling Marte, Josh Harrison and Andrew McCutchen entered the series opener with already-cartoonish stats in Colorado. But they boosted their numbers on Friday by combining to go 6-for-14 with nine runs scored and three RBIs. Throw in cleanup hitter Josh Bell's career high four hits and four RBIs and that goes up to 10-for-20 with 10 runs and seven RBIs.

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Compounded with six walks and four hit batsmen, the Pirates' offense was firing on all cylinders Friday night, as they won the ninth game in their last 10 tries at Coors Field and sixth straight.

"Everybody was finding their way on base, everybody contributed without a lot of big swings," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Guys weren't trying to pump the ball, Jordy [Mercer] hit the farthest ball of the night. Just good at-bats, a lot of directional hitting, a lot of hard-hit balls back up the middle."

Video: PIT@COL: Bell clears the bases with a double

The altitude in Denver boosts offense all-around, but the Pirates continue to perform extraordinarily well against the Rockies. Marte has the best numbers of all the Pirates, slashing a whopping .511/.566/.702 with 13 runs scored, including four Friday, in 12 career games at Coors Field.

"I think as a team we just really enjoy playing here, and that motivates me a lot," Marte said through a translator. "But also I can see the ball a lot clearer over here, and it helps me get on base."

McCutchen, who has much more experience under his belt, is hitting a more modest .318/.444/.589 in 107 at-bats at Coors. Harrison is slashing .368/.410/.509 in 57 at-bats.

Video: PIT@COL: Cutch rips an RBI single to right field

"You've got a lot of advantages here at this ballpark as a hitter," McCutchen said. "The ball plays fast here on the ground. And it's very big, a lot of room, big gaps. So you've got all that going for you."

Bell is the newest addition to the club. Playing for the first time at Coors Field, he recorded his first-career four-hit game and came a home run short of the cycle. His first two swings of the night produced four runs with a first-inning RBI single and a second-inning three-run double.

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

The last time the Pirates lost in Colorado was July 26, 2014, an 8-1 loss that saw starting pitcher Jeff Locke gave up six runs in 6 2/3 innings. Now, with the Pirates just two games behind the National League Central-leading Brewers, more offense will help keep the pressure on.

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

"We're competing to be in first place," Marte said. "It's the second half of the season, and this is where all the teams are competing harder than ever."

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

Pittsburgh Pirates, Josh Bell, Andrew McCutchen