Pittsburgh Pirates Fall 6-2 in Colorado, Swept by Rockies

Jun 30, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates manager Derek Shelton (17) walks to the dugout after a mound visit in the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 30, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates manager Derek Shelton (17) walks to the dugout after a mound visit in the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

6. 108. 2. 4. Final

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been swept by the Colorado Rockies and have fallen to 29-50 on the season after Wednesday’s 6-2 loss

After taking 3 of 4 from the Cardinals in St. Louis last weekend, it appeared as though the Pirates may have been putting some things together and gaining some momentum moving towards the All-Star Break.

This was not the case in Colorado as the Bucs lost 6-2 today and were swept by the Rockies in this three-game series. This afternoon’s two runs were the first two Pirate runs scored in Colorado as the Rockies defeated the Bucs 2-0 Monday night and 8-0 in last night’s contest.

A Sigh of Relief

After nearly being no-hit by Germán Márquez last night, the Pirate offense got things going early against the Colorado Rockies this afternoon. Adam Frazier lined Jon Gray’s fourth pitch of the day into the gap in right-center for a leadoff triple and Ke’Bryan Hayes hit a sacrifice fly to score Frazier and give the Pirates an early 1-0 lead.

Bryan Reynolds now has a 14-game hitting streak going as he followed Hayes with the longest home run of his career, a 454-foot blast to right field and before Chad Kuhl threw his first pitch the Bucs had a 2-0 lead. Reynolds tallied 7 home runs in the month of June and he continues to make a strong case to return to Coors Field in a few weeks as an All-Star.

Trouble in the 5th

Chad Kuhl and the Pirates ran into a bit of bad luck in the bottom half of the 5th inning. Kuhl struck out Gray to begin the inning but then walked Raimel Tapia and with Garrett Hampson at the plate, Kuhl attempted a pick-off move but his throw went through, yes through, the glove of Phillip Evans. Tapia advanced to second with one out and Hampson doubled to bring him home and tie the game at 2.

Following his double, Hampson advanced to third via a wild pitch by Kuhl, and after hitting Charlie Blackmon, Kuhl’s day came to an end. Chris Stratton entered in relief and surrendered a sacrifice fly to C.J. Cron to give the Rockies a 3-2 lead. Stratton allowed two singles to follow but kept Colorado from doing any further damage in the 5th as he struck out Joshua Fuentes to end the inning.

After two quality starts in his previous two outings, Kuhl finished today after 4.1 innings, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits with 3 walks. He struck out 6. Kuhl wasn’t exactly dominant today, as runners reached in each of his first 4 innings, but he was able to work out of trouble throughout the early portion of the game. His control became the issue in the 5th and despite his pitch count only being at 82, Manager Derek Shelton felt that his day was done.

Chad Kuhl (2-5) will carry a 5.31 ERA into his next start, tentatively scheduled for July 5th at home against the Atlanta Braves.

Stratton remained in the game to begin the bottom of the 6th and allowed a leadoff double to Dom Nuñez to begin the inning. He then struck out Chris Owings before being lifted for Sam Howard.

Sam Howard Returns From IL

Reliever Sam Howard was activated from the IL yesterday after missing the minimum 10 days due to right knee tendinitis. Howard allowed a single to Tapia which scored Nuñez and then stole second base and scored after a Garrett Hampson single to left. Blackmon followed with a single of his own and it looked as though things could get worse but Howard got Cron to ground into a double play to end the inning with the score 5-2 in favor of the Rockies.

Despite limiting the damage, this was not the way Sam Howard envisioned his return. Howard had been extremely effective throughout the year until a recent blow-up against the Washington Nationals in which he allowed 6 earned runs. He’ll look to return to form before the upcoming All-Star break.

David Bednar was called upon to throw the bottom half of the 7th inning and after a groundout to begin the inning, Bednar walked Brendan Rogers but struck out Fuentes for the second out. With two outs, however, the Mars native walked Nuñez after a 14-pitch battle and allowed a pinch-hit RBI single to Yonathan Daza to give the Rockies a four-run lead.

Chasen Shreve relieved Bednar and threw a clean 8th inning on just five pitches but the Pirates couldn’t get anything going against Rockies’ closer Daniel Bard in the 9th and the club has now fallen to 29-50 on the year after being swept by Colorado.

What’s Next?

The Pittsburgh Pirates will head home to take on the Milwaukee Brewers (47-33) in a four-game series beginning tomorrow night at 7:05 PM ET. Wil Crowe (6.50 ERA/6.17 FIP) will take the mound after collecting his first career win in his last outing in St. Louis. Corbin Burnes (2.53 ERA/1.18 FIP) is scheduled to start for the Brewers.