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Rockies' road woes briefly on backburner with win over Pirates

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- As poorly as the Colorado Rockies play on the road, they probably knew it would take some outside help to get a victory away from Coors Field. The Pittsburgh Pirates' first error in 11 games provided exactly that.

Left-hander Joe Kennedy won on the road for the first time this season and the Rockies held on to win despite an adventuresome two-run Pittsburgh ninth inning, beating the Pirates 4-3 on Sunday for only their third road victory all season.

Catcher J.D. Closser, brushed by runner Michael Restovich on the play, held on to David Ross' twisting popup on a 3-2 pitch by reliever Brian Fuentes to preserve it with two on and two outs in the ninth.

Kennedy (3-4) hadn't allowed a runner past first base since the first inning before Jason Bay tripled and Jose Castillo doubled in the ninth. Fuentes then got his second save in as many opportunities, but not before walking Restovich and allowing Humberto Cota's two-out, run-scoring single.

Ross fought off several pitches, then hit a high, spiraling popup that caused Closser and the Rockies some anxious moments.

"That was a great catch by J.D.," Fuentes said. "I know I couldn't have caught it."

If nothing else highlights how the Rockies' season is going -- they're 13-28 overall and 3-17 on the road -- it's that even a popup to the catcher is anything but a routine play.

Just like Kennedy's apparent inning-ending flyball to center fielder Tike Redman in the fourth proved anything but ordinary. The ball somehow glanced off the bottom of Redman's glove, scoring Garrett Atkins to put the Rockies up 2-1.

"You see outfielders drop routine balls and you hope it never happens to you," said Redman, who went 6-for-10 in the series. "I wanted to crawl up under a rock when I dropped it. I couldn't believe it."

The error was Pittsburgh's first in 95 innings over 11 games and cost the Pirates, who are second in the NL in team defense, a chance to set a team record with 11 consecutive errorless games. It also cost them a possible three-game sweep.

"I like the way we're playing, but every now and then we're going to have some tough losses," said manager Lloyd McClendon, whose team has dropped three of its last five at home -- all by one run in the ninth inning,

The Pirates were confident of completing the sweep against Kennedy (3-4), who was 0-4 with an 8.31 ERA on the road. But he limited them to five hits and three runs -- two earned -- over 8 1/3 innings in his second consecutive victory.

"I had eight games where I'd done well for the first three-four innings, and then something always happens," said Kennedy, who hadn't won on the road since Sept. 13. "It's definitely been frustrating."

Kennedy's solid start contrasted to that by Josh Fogg (3-3), who struggled all afternoon while allowing four runs -- three earned -- walking five and giving up five hits in five innings.

"I can't afford to do that, put five extra guys on base," Fogg said. "It's unacceptable."

Fogg hit Atkins with a pitch with the bases loaded to make it 3-1 in the fifth, following two walks and Matt Holliday's single, and Relaford hit a sacrifice fly. The inning before, Relaford had a run-scoring single off first baseman Daryle Ward's glove.

Kennedy's second start in Pittsburgh was certainly better than his first, a 3-0 loss on Aug. 15 in which he was ejected, fined and suspended for five games after hitting Jason Kendall with a pitch in the fourth inning.

This time, the Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the first after shortstop Clint Barmes misplayed Jack Wilson's one-out grounder, then threw it away, sending Wilson to second and giving Barmes two errors. Ward followed with an opposite-field RBI single to left a batter later.

With manager Clint Hurdle back in Denver with his sick daughter and bench coach Jamie Quirk attending his daughter's high school graduation, the Rockies used batting coach Duane Espy and pitching coach Bob Apodaca as co-managers.

"I joked with Dac (Apodaca), 'If he (Kennedy) can throw nine shutout innings, I think I can figure out the rest of this,'" Espy said.

Notes

  • Fogg had given up two earned runs or fewer in six of his previous seven starts.
  • Pirates starting pitchers were 8-1 with a 2.32 ERA in the previous 11 starts.
  • Kennedy had allowed four earned runs or more in five of his previous seven starts.
  • The Pirates have won 11 of 17, but went 4-4 on their just-concluded homestand.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Todd Helton and the Rockies go all out to pick up just their third road victory of the season.  (AP)
Todd Helton and the Rockies go all out to pick up just their third road victory of the season. (AP)

Players of the Game
Colorado

G. Atkins
AB 2
R 1
H 0
HR 0
RBI 1
Colorado

D. Relaford
AB 3
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
 
Colorado Rockies
Cory Sullivan, CF5000013 .301
Clint Barmes, SS5000011 .349
Todd Helton, 1B3100230 .301
Matt Holliday, LF5120013 .279
Bradley Hawpe, RF3120100 .327
Garrett Atkins, 3B2101102 .299
Desi Relaford, 2B3012001 .297
J.D. Closser, C3010103 .177
Joe Kennedy, P4010000 .200
    Brian Fuentes, P0000000 .000
Totals334735613 
Batting
2B - Bradley Hawpe (3, Fogg)
SF - Desi Relaford (1)
RBI - Garrett Atkins (9), Desi Relaford 2 (7)
SB - Cory Sullivan (2, 2nd base off Fogg/Cota)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Relaford-Barmes-Helton
E - Clint Barmes 2 (10, Misplayed grounder, wild throw)
Colorado Rockies
Joe Kennedy (W,3-4) 8.1532260 6.56
Brian Fuentes (S,2) 0.2100110 2.75
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Kennedy 109-69, Brian Fuentes 25-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Kennedy 12-7
Batters Faced - Joe Kennedy 32, Brian Fuentes 4
Pittsburgh Pirates
Tike Redman, CF4000011 .217
Jack Wilson, SS4100001 .196
Jason Bay, LF2110211 .280
Daryle Ward, 1B4011013 .274
Jose Castillo, 2B4121000 .333
Michael Restovich, RF3000112 .282
Ty Wigginton, 3B4000012 .174
Humberto Cota, C4011010 .241
Josh Fogg, P1000000 .133
   a- Freddy Sanchez, PH1010000 .254
    John Grabow, P0000000 .000
    Salomon Torres, P0000000 .000
   b- Bobby Hill, PH1000010 .269
    Ryan Vogelsong, P0000000 .000
   c- David Ross, PH1000002 .200
Totals333633712 
a-singled for Fogg in the 5th
b-struck out for Torres in the 8th
c-popped out for Vogelsong in the 9th
Batting
2B - Jose Castillo (4, Kennedy)
3B - Jason Bay (3, Kennedy)
RBI - Daryle Ward (21), Jose Castillo (9), Humberto Cota (11)
2-OUT RBI - Daryle Ward (10), Humberto Cota (2)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Ward-J. Wilson
E - Tike Redman (3, Dropped fly)
Pittsburgh Pirates
Josh Fogg (L,3-3) 5543540 3.94
John Grabow 2100010 2.13
Salomon Torres 1100000 3.50
Ryan Vogelsong 1000010 5.51
IBB - Helton by Josh Fogg, by Hawpe
HBP - Atkins (by Josh Fogg)
WP - John Grabow (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Josh Fogg 94-52, John Grabow 29-18, Salomon Torres 14-8, Ryan Vogelsong 14-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Josh Fogg 6-5, John Grabow 4-1, Salomon Torres 2-1, Ryan Vogelsong 2-0
Batters Faced - Josh Fogg 26, John Grabow 7, Salomon Torres 4, Ryan Vogelsong 3
Game Information
Attendance - 20853
Game Time - 2:38
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Mark Carlson, First Base - Joe West, Second Base - Brian Gorman, Third Base - Mike DiMuro