The Pittsburgh Pirates received another great start from deadline acquisition J.A. Happ in their 4-3 win over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday. The Colorado Rockies rallied in the ninth inning but the Pirates held them off to move to 30 games over .500 at 79-49 entering the final game of the series on Sunday.
The Pirates took the lead in the bottom of the first when Aramis Ramirez hit his 13th home run of the year, a three run shot to left which brought in Josh Harrison and Andrew McCutchen. The Rockies got one run back in the third off of a fielder’s choice to Pedro Alvarez. Alvarez went to second instead of home with hopes to get two outs in exchange for a run. However the double play was not turned and the run scored.
The run in the third was all that Happ and the bullpen would give up all night. Happ was taken out of the game after five and two thirds innings in favor of Arquimedes Caminero. Caminero finished the inning and pitched a scoreless seventh as well. The Pirates tacked on an additional run in their half of the seventh, and it proved to be the deciding run.
Neil Walker singled and was replaced by Starling Marte. Michael Morse entered the game as a pinch hitter in the pitcher’s spot and added another single to move Marte to third. Gregory Polanco slapped a ball to DJ LeMahieu at second who attempted to turn the double but the Rockies were unable to do so and Marte scored.
Tony Watson came in to do his usual work in the eighth and did just that, keeping the score where it was for Mark Melancon in the ninth. Melancon began the inning by giving up a single to Ben Paulsen. In the next at bat Nick Hundley hit his 10th home run of the season deep to left to bring the Rockies within run. They got another base runner in Brandon Barnes but after Daniel Descalso popped out he was doubled off first to end the game.
What Stood Out
Happ once again pitched a great game, limiting the Rockies to just one run in more than five innings of work. What is especially impressive is that he threw 87 pitches and 62 of those for strikes. He is becoming a solid middle of the rotation pitcher, and that is exactly what the Pirates need as A.J. Burnett continues to work his way back from the injury.
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To continue the theme with deadline acquisitions, Ramirez is swinging a hot bat at the moment and gives Clint Hurdle a strong option as a starter and off the bench. The Pirates have a stretch of games against NL Central opponents coming up and Ramirez has spent his whole career facing these teams, so perhaps he’ll keep rolling against the familiar foes.
The weekend series will wrap up on Sunday at 1:35pm when the Pirates go for the sweep. Colorado will send Jorge De La Rosa to the mound who most recently giving up five runs over seven innings in Atlanta on August 24th. Taking the mound for the Pirates will be Charlie Morton, who had pitched well before stumbling in Miami when he surrendered five runs (four earned) in five and one third innings of work on August 25th.