PITTSBURGH — The 2017 Rockies have the best road record in the National League, but Tuesday night conjured up bad memories of Rockies road seasons of the recent past.
Despite another stellar start from Tyler Chatwood, the Rockies lost 5-2 to Pittsburgh on a night when all-star Andrew McCutchen slammed two home runs at PNC Park.
Colorado (41-26) lost its third straight game, matching its longest skid of the season. Pittsburgh won its fourth straight for its longest winning streak of the season.
Jon Jaso’s pinch-hit, two-run homer off reliever Adam Ottavino in the seventh was the deciding blow. McCutchen then hammered a 3-0 pitch off struggling reliever Jordan Lyles in the eighth for a two-run homer to close the deal. Lyles has given up eight homers in 29⅓ innings, and his ERA has ballooned to 7.06.
Ottavino got tagged with the loss, but the Rockies’ offense was a no-show, managing just three hits. Carlos Gonzalez went 0-for-4 and is now 0-for-20 with six strikeouts on the current road trip.
The Rockies created enough traffic to win the game, but one night after going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, they went 1-for-6 on Tuesday night. Trevor Story singled in Ian Desmond with two outs in the ninth to dent the Pirates’ victory margin.
Ottavino entered the game because manager Bud Black played the percentages with the game tied 1-1 the seventh. With Desmond on second and Story on first after drawing walks off Pittsburgh starter Gerrit Cole, Black pinch hit for Chatwood, even though Chatwood had thrown only 79 pitches.
But move didn’t work out, because Alexi Amarista struck out to end the Rockies’ would-be rally, and Jaso hit his go-ahead homer off Ottavino in the bottom of the frame.
Virtually nothing was happening for the Rockies offensively against Cole until Story turned on his speed in the fifth to tie the game 1-1.
Story drew a walk on six pitches and then took off on the first pitch to Tony Wolters. The timing was perfect, because Wolters dumped a single into shallow left field and Story kept running as third-base coach Stu Cole waved him home.
Pirates left fielder Adam Frazier, rather than throwing home, threw to second base, and the relay attempt to nail Wolters was a hair too late. According to Statcast, Story sprinted from first to home in 9.18 seconds. That ranks as the sixth fastest in the majors this season, and it was also the fastest Statcast has ever tracked a Rockies player going from first to third.
Chatwood made another excellent road start, going six innings, giving up one run on five hits and striking out five. Chatwood’s ERA over his last four road starts is 1.00.
His one big mistake came in the fourth. Chatwood had just gotten Josh Bell to ground into a double play when McCutchen stepped to plate, timed up Chatwood’s 2-2 curveball and drove it into the left-field seats. McCutchen’s 10th homer gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
Cole had been in a deep funk, posting a 10.71 ERA over his last four starts. But he pitched like an ace against the Rockies, giving up a single run on three hits.