Steven Brault homers, pitches well in Pirates’ defeat of Rockies
DENVER — Steven Brault went 61/3 innings Sunday afternoon at Coors Field and, supported by a continually hot offense, picked up the win as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Colorado Rockies, 6-2, in the finale of a four-game series.
The Pirates scored 37 runs in the sweep, with every starting pitcher earning victories.
Adam Frazier hit a home run off Rockies’ starter Jeff Hoffman on the first pitch of the game, giving the Pirates an early 1-0 lead.
The Pirates took a 2-0 lead after Bryan Reynolds, who went 3 of 5, got on base in the fifth and was singled home by Josh Bell.
Brault (4-3, 3.88 ERA) was dealing in speed through his first six innings of work. He struck out five, allowed four hits and was charged with one earned run.
“We like to go out and throw fastballs until (I’m told) to change the plan, and so that’s how it was today,” Brault said. “(Catcher) Elias (Diaz) was on the same page. I only shook away a slider once the whole game.”
When Nolan Arenado connected on a heater for a line-drive home run over the left-field wall in the sixth inning, closing the gap to 2-1, it was just the second Colorado hit of the afternoon.
“I think the most incredible thing is that he didn’t throw a breaking ball until his 70th pitch of the game,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “The two-seamer and the sinker worked extremely well today. He had a plan B … and he didn’t need to go to it (against) one of the best hitting teams against left-handed pitching in the league.”
But Brault redeemed himself in the Pirates’ half of the seventh, hitting his first big-league home run 442 feet into the second deck of the right-field stands. The Pirates added one more in the seventh to take a 4-1 lead.
Ryan McMahon’s well-placed bunt in the seventh got him aboard, and he advanced to second when Garrett Hampson blooped a ball into shallow center-right field.
Second baseman Frazier put on the afterburners to track it down and got in position, but the ball bounced off the glove area over his palm and bounced out.
Tony Wolters came to the plate and knocked in McMahon, prompting Hurdle to bring in righty reliever Rich Rodriguez to close the inning.
Rodriguez saved a run by throwing out an advancing Hampton at home plate. Hampton tried to score on a dribbler hit back to the mound by Daniel Murphy.
Then, with runners on first and second, Rodriguez struck out leadoff hitter Trevor Story looking on a full count.
Rodriguez earned a hold (13), as did Keone Kela (4), who pitched a scoreless eighth.
The Pirates added cushion in the ninth, scoring two more, one via an RBI single from Colin Moran.
Felipe Vazquez pitched the ninth with a 6-2 lead, and although he was a bit wild and hit a batter with a 100 mph fastball, settled down and closed things out.
The Pirates return home this week and will face Miami at 7:05 Tuesday night at PNC Park. Mitch Keller will start.