Pirates 9, Rockies 0
“That was the most effective game pitched against us all season,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “I can’t say more than that.”
Kenny Lofton and Jason Kendall sparked all of Pittsburgh’s scoring against Rockies starter Shawn Chacon (11-4) as each reached base three times in the first four innings. Chacon was trying to become the majors’ first 12-game winner, but left trailing 6-0 after four innings.
Chacon had won seven of eight starts and was opposing a pitcher who had lost seven of eight, only to be lifted after giving up six earned runs and six hits. Kendall and Lofton combined for five of the six hits off Chacon, with Stairs’ homer being the other hit.
Kendall, who might be suspended as early as Tuesday for fighting in Tampa Bay earlier this month, finished 4-for-5 with an RBI.
Suppan (6-7), who had been losing games as regularly as Chacon was winning them, made what easily was his best start since early April by pitching a four-hitter for the Pirates’ first complete-game shutout of the season. They have two shutouts by multiple pitchers.
The Pirates had gone 170 games without a complete game since Jimmy Anderson, now in the Reds’ organization, beat Cincinnati on June 16, 2002. It also was the first shutout by a Pirates pitcher since Kip Wells beat the Cubs 5-0 on May 29, 2002.
“We scored early and kept scoring runs and our defense was outstanding,” said Suppan, who hadn’t thrown a shutout since April 29, 2002, with the Royals. “I took it inning by inning and was able to keep making my pitches. Everything kind of happened for us.”
Suppan won for the first time in five starts and only the second time in 12 starts since winning his first four starts. He struck out six, walked two and was helped by a pair of double-play grounders.
Suppan also had a run-scoring single in the seventh for his first RBI of the season.
Lofton, who had five hits in the final two games of the series, and Kendall singled in succession to start the Pirates’ first inning and Lofton scored on Aramis Ramirez’s force-play grounder. Ramirez later added a sacrifice fly in a three-run seventh that included Stairs’ RBI double.
“It’s important for the leadoff guy to get on because anything can happen,” Lofton said. “Things worked out today and we hope we can keep it going.”
Stairs’ three-run homer in the third was his sixth of the season and fifth in 18 games since coming off the disabled list. Lofton doubled and Kendall singled to start the four-run inning, with Lofton scoring on catcher Bobby Estalella’s errant throw as Kendall stole second.
“It was just a bad day,” Chacon said. “I didn’t feel like I made a lot of mistakes … I’ve won with the stuff I had today. One bad pitch (to Stairs) was all it took for us to lose this game.”
Stairs is 19-for-46 (.413) with six doubles, five homers and 12 RBIs in 18 games since being activated.
“I’m getting a chance to play a lot,” Stairs said. “Hitting is confidence and I’m feeling comfortable right now, I’m going to the plate with a lot ofconfidence … if you lose confidence, you’re done.”
The Pirates won two of three for the third straight series at PNC Park after failing to win any of their first 10 series there. They have won seven of 10 at home since losing 21 of their first 29. … Suppan was 0-2 in five starts in PNC Park since last winning there April 22. … Pirates SS Jack Wilson was 1-for-29 until he singled in the seventh. … The Rockies were 13-3 in Chacon’s first 16 starts, the best such record for any starter in the majors. … Rockies 1B Todd Helton singled in the first to run his hitting streak to 14 games (22-for-56, .393). … Kendall’s appeal of his three-game suspension will be heard Tuesday. … Atlanta is the only major league team without a complete game this season. … After the game, the Pirates optioned right-hander Brian Meadows to Triple-A Nashville. Reliever Mike Lincoln likely will be called up before Tuesday’s game against Cincinnati. … The Rockies went 3-3 on asix-game trip to San Diego and Pittsburgh.