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Colorado at Pittsburgh

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Colorado001000000180
Pittsburgh «10000002x370

Late RBI double by Sanchez helps extend Rockies' losing streak

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- Freddy Sanchez's rapid ascent from role player to clutch star has been so impressive he will have a bobblehead doll.

Sanchez's RBI double in the eighth inning gave Pittsburgh the lead and the Pirates went on to a 3-1 victory over Colorado on Monday night, the Rockies' eighth straight loss.

"We've talked about this guy a lot, and I said weeks ago that I have run out of words to describe how good of an offensive player this guy is," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. "He's just fantastic."

Sanchez, the league's leading hitter, raised his average from .360 to .363 with two hits -- the second of which was a double into the right field corner off Byung-Hyun Kim (5-6) that came after Jack Wilson doubled to left with one out in the eighth.

Sanchez and Wilson both had two hits for the Pirates, who have won three of four since the All-Star break.

"I was just looking for a good pitch to hit out over the plate," said Sanchez, who began the season as a backup to Joe Randa at third but made the All-Star team. "That's what you play for, to hit in situations like that to give your team a chance to win."

During the game, the Pirates announced that Sept. 30 will be Freddy Sanchez All-Star Bobblehead Night.

Sanchez downplayed that meant he has arrived, saying he hopes the team -- which had the major league's worst record at the All-Star break -- will arrive instead.

"Hopefully there's no more, 'Well, we're still learning from this,"' Sanchez said. "It's time to execute and get the job done."

The Pirates added another run in the eighth inning when Sanchez scored on a bases loaded walk to Jose Bautista. Matt Capps worked the ninth for his first career save.

"It feels pretty good," said Capps, who leads all rookies with 50 appearances. "It was fun, a good experience."

The go-ahead runs were scored a half-inning after the Rockies appeared to be on the verge of breaking a 1-1 tie that had endured since the third.

Garrett Atkins hit a double to the gap in right-center -- his third hit of the game -- off John Grabow (2-1) with Todd Helton on first. But center fielder Batista made a strong relay throw to second baseman Jose Castillo, who quickly got the ball home to Ronny Paulino, who blocked enough of the plate to barely tag out Helton in time.

"I don't know if there's another player in the game who can make a throw from that distance and that is that accurate," Tracy said of Castillo. "That play was executed to perfection. It took a perfect throw from the outfielder and a perfect throw from the cutoff man."

Helton was the only the second runner on either team to get as far as third base after the third inning, as Kim and Pittsburgh starter Kip Wells combined for six 1-2-3 innings.

Nate McLouth scored the game's first run when he doubled to lead off the bottom of the first, advanced to third on Wilson's groundout and scored on a passed ball by J.D. Closser.

"To be a good team you have to work out of these types of situations," Closser said. "Right now we're in one of those. But you never know, it could happen any day. We're out there battling and playing hard, so things are going to turn around for us."

Clint Barmes tied it with one out in the third with a homer into the left field corner, his sixth. It was Barmes' third home run in his last six games after going 98 at-bats without one.

Wells, who missed almost three months at the start of the season after surgery in March to repair a blocked artery in his right arm, had allowed 23 earned runs in 16 2/3 innings in four starts this season -- all losses.

He enjoyed easily his best start of the season, allowing one run and seven hits in seven innings, walking two and striking out four.

"That's the Kip Wells we need to see," Sanchez said. "It was a great outing tonight."

Kim worked a career-high 7 1/3 innings and tied a career high with nine strikeouts, a feat he had accomplished twice before.

"He's been on a roll all season," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "He continued to do the things he can do and we've asked him to try to focus on doing. That's very encouraging. Our starting rotation the last few weeks has been impressive -- look at the lines. We just have to find a way to start tightening things up, capitalizing on them on offense and in the bullpen."

Notes

  • The Pirates had managed at least 10 hits in each of their previous eight home games.
  • Pittsburgh is 16-7 all-time against Colorado at PNC Park -- the best winning percentage (.696) against any team that has played there more than six times.
  • Sanchez has hit safely in 26 of his last 29 starts.
  • Kim had pitched seven innings in a game 11 times in his career.
 
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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Colorado's Byung-Hyun Kim strikes out nine batters through a career-high 7 1/3 innings of work.  (AP)
Colorado's Byung-Hyun Kim strikes out nine batters through a career-high 7 1/3 innings of work. (AP)

Players of the Game
Pittsburgh

F. Sanchez
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
Colorado

G. Atkins
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 0
 
Colorado Rockies
Jamey Carroll, 2B4000000 .317
Clint Barmes, SS4111010 .218
Todd Helton, 1B3010100 .293
Matt Holliday, LF4020022 .333
Garrett Atkins, 3B4030001 .315
Brad Hawpe, RF4010014 .309
Jorge Piedra, CF2000113 .200
    Cory Sullivan, CF0000000 .273
   a- Choo Freeman, PH1000000 .240
J.D. Closser, C3000113 .208
Byung-Hyun Kim, P3000003 .154
    Ramon Ramirez, P0000000 .667
    Ray King, P0000000 .000
    Scott Dohmann, P0000000 .000
   b- Luis Gonzalez, PH1000000 .229
Totals331813616 
a-grounded out for Sullivan in the 9th
b-flied out for Dohmann in the 9th
Batting
2B - Garrett Atkins 2 (30, Wells, Grabow)
HR - Clint Barmes (6, Wells)
RBI - Clint Barmes (47)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
PB - J.D. Closser (1)
Colorado Rockies
Byung-Hyun Kim (L,5-6) 7.1733290 4.78
Ramon Ramirez0000100 2.92
Ray King0000100 4.74
Scott Dohmann 0.2000010 6.20
HBP - Casey (by Ray King)
WP - Byung-Hyun Kim (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Byung-Hyun Kim 127-85, Ramon Ramirez 7-3, Ray King 9-4, Scott Dohmann 7-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Byung-Hyun Kim 6-6
Batters Faced - Byung-Hyun Kim 30, Ramon Ramirez 1, Ray King 2, Scott Dohmann 2
Pittsburgh Pirates
Nate McLouth, RF4110010 .234
Jack Wilson, SS4120001 .268
Freddy Sanchez, 3B3121100 .363
Jason Bay, LF3010101 .290
Sean Casey, 1B3010001 .306
Jose Bautista, CF3001133 .275
Jose Castillo, 2B4000024 .272
Ronny Paulino, C3000123 .303
Kip Wells, P2000012 .167
   a- Jeromy Burnitz, PH1000010 .227
    John Grabow, P0000000 .000
    Matt Capps, P0000000 .000
Totals3037241015 
a-struck out for Wells in the 7th
Batting
2B - Nate McLouth (14, Kim), Jack Wilson (16, Kim), Freddy Sanchez (33, Kim)
RBI - Freddy Sanchez (52), Jose Bautista (29)
CS - Jack Wilson (2, 2nd base by Kim/Closser)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jose Bautista 1
DP - J. Wilson-Casey
Pittsburgh Pirates
Kip Wells 7711241 9.13
John Grabow (W,2-1) 1100110 4.78
Matt Capps (S,1) 1000010 3.16
IBB - Closser by Kip Wells
Pitches-Strikes - Kip Wells 100-67, John Grabow 23-15, Matt Capps 17-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kip Wells 11-5, John Grabow 1-0, Matt Capps 1-1
Batters Faced - Kip Wells 29, John Grabow 4, Matt Capps 3
Game Information
Attendance - 18835
Game Time - 2:52
Temperature - 86
Umpires - Home - Mike Winters, First Base - Brian Runge, Second Base - Bruce Froemming, Third Base - Paul Emmel