Game Recap: Bullpen, Inept Offense Blow Chance for Sweep

The Pirates had a golden chance for their first series sweep of the season.  Facing the hapless Rockies, they got a strong start from Chase De Jong and scratched out some early runs.  Unfortunately, the hitters went home after the fourth inning, and Kyle Crick and Richard Rodriguez failed to hold a late lead, letting Colorado eke out a 4-3 win.

De Jong gave up just three hits and two walks, one intentional, over five-plus innings, striking out five.  The only run against him came in the fourth, when Charlie Blackmon tripled in a run with one out.  De Jong stranded Blackmon by getting the last two outs on strikeouts.

De Jong left after allowing a leadoff single in the sixth, but the middle relievers did their jobs.  Sam Howard walked the next two batters to load the bases with nobody out.  He fanned the two after that, then left for Clay Holmes, who got a three-pitch strikeout to end the inning.  Holmes left after two hitters reached with two outs in the seventh, and Chasen Shreve got the last out.

At that point, the Pirates had a 3-1 lead.  They got a run in the third when Adam Frazier doubled in Ka’ai Tom, who’d walked and moved up on a sacrifice.  In the fourth, they loaded the bases with nobody out.  Tom drove in one run with an infield hit, but the next three batters were retired, with one run scoring when Frazier hit into a force out.

Tom’s infield hit was the last hit the Pirates got.  The game with the Pirates up devolved into the standard, dreary procession of weakly hit outs, as Colorado pitchers easily retired 18 of the Pirates’ last 19 batters.  The only exception was a walk to Bryan Reynolds.  The Pirates had only five hits for the day.

Kyle Crick came on for the eighth and couldn’t throw strikes.  He gave up a leadoff double to Blackmon, then walked two of the next five batters and hit one.  He also threw in a wild pitch for good measure.  After he walked in a run to make the score 3-2, Richard Rodriguez got the third out.

Rodriguez wasn’t up to it in the ninth, registering his first blown save of the year.  A one-walk and a double by, of course, Blackmon tied the game.  Rodriguez fanned the next hitter, but Matt Adams grounded a single up the middle to put the Rockies ahead.  The Pirates went down without a peep in the bottom of the inning.