Jul 19, 2014 12:03 AM by Posted by Greg Smith
PITTSBURGH -- Not even Jorge De La Rosa could carry the Rockies to victory Friday night.
De La Rosa held the Pirates to one run in six innings and left with a lead. But the relief pitchers the Rockies need to make them relevant following the All-Star break continued to struggle, and the result was a 4-2 loss at PNC Park in front of a sellout crowd of 37,833.
De La Rosa's lead disappeared in the seventh when lefty Rex Brothers gave up two hits, sandwiched around a throwing error by third baseman Nolan Arenado, and righty Adam Ottavino hit Starling Marte in the helmet to force the tying run. Then the Pirates scored two runs on three hits, including pinch-hitter Travis Snider's go-ahead RBI double in the eighth, off Matt Belisle (2-5).
Desperately needing a second-half turnaround and wanting to start it immediately, the Rockies instead fell to first-half habits.
They loaded the bases in each of the first two innings against a somewhat wild Francisco Liriano, but managed just one run, on Corey Dickerson's fielder's choice. DJ LeMahieu's fielder's choice in the sixth off Jared Hughes gave the Rockies a 2-1 lead, and Brothers (4.58 ERA), Ottavino (3.89) and Belisle (5.26) -- all of who have had dominant periods in a Rockies uniform -- couldn't hold the advantage.
From late June, the Rockies' rotation could be summed up with the slogan, "Jorge, then let us pray." De La Rosa won his last four starts going into Friday. During that stretch, the Rockies won just two other games.
De La Rosa was solid once more. He threw 100 pitches in six innings and had plenty of traffic -- four hits and three walks. But the only run came with two down in the fifth.
Gregory Polanco reached on a bouncer that De La Rosa deflected. Marte hit a hard grounder down the third-base line. Dickerson, in left field, angled as if he expected the ball to hit the part of the wall that juts out in foul ground, but the ball continued bouncing into the corner. Polanco scored, but Marte ran through Pirates third-base coach Nick Leyva's sign, and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki's relay throw beat Marte to the plate for the final out.
Otherwise, De La Rosa scattered the baserunners and for the most part forced weak contact.
The Pirates had solid bullpen work, which concluded with Tony Watson (6-1) earning a win with a scoreless eighth and Mark Melancon earning his 17th save.
Rockies standout outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who came back from left index finger surgery for the final three games before the break, showed rust by striking out five times.