Pirates 5, Rockies 3

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DENVER (AP)—The Pittsburgh Pirates treated Nelson Figueroa like a superstar, and he rewarded them with a win.

Figueroa threw six strong innings, and Randall Simon hit a two-run homer as Pittsburgh beat the Colorado Rockies 5-3 Sunday.

The Pirates recalled Figueroa from Triple-A Nashville, which was playing Colorado Springs.

“They sent a limo down and I got here around 6 o’clock Saturday night,” Figueroa said. “I decided that the only thing I could do was try to make myself an asset to this organization and this team when I got the opportunity.”

Figueroa (1-0) allowed two runs and seven hits. He had been 0-6 in nine starts since his last major league win with Milwaukee on April 30, 2002, against Atlanta.

“Nelson gave us more than we could have asked for,” Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon said. “He was down in the zone with his strikes, worked ahead in the count and gave us a quality start.”

Mike Lincoln pitched the ninth, allowing a solo homer to Charles Johnson before finishing for his fifth save in seven chances.

Simon hit his second home run of the series. The Pirates took two of three from the Rockies.

Shawn Chacon (11-7) allowed three runs—two earned—and five hits in seven innings, losing his fourth straight decision in five starts. He hasn’t won since June 23 at San Diego.

“The bottom line is wins and losses and that’s a loss,” Chacon said. “That’s the only thing I look at.”

Figueroa retired his first five batters before Rene Reyes homered into the Colorado bullpen for his first career home run.

Ronnie Belliard homered to left in the third to make it 2-0.

“I would take back the two solo home runs in a heartbeat, but they were solo home runs,” Figueroa said. “And in this ballpark, as long as you don’t give up a three-run shot and a big inning you’ll be OK.”

The Pirates tied it in the fourth on Simon’s two-run shot. Chacon walked Matt Stairs with two outs and Simon hit his 10th homer to right.

Pittsburgh took a 3-2 lead with an unearned run in the seventh.

Jose Hernandez hit a one-out single and stole second. Chacon appeared to be out of the jam when Humberto Cota struck out and Abraham Nunez hit a routine groundball to shortstop—but Juan Uribe threw wildly past first for an error and Hernandez scored.

Pittsburgh’s defense saved a run in the seventh. Pinch-hitter Garrett Atkins singled and, with two outs, pinch-hitter Larry Walker doubled to center.

Tike Redman made a sliding stop and threw to shortstop Jack Wilson, who relayed the ball home from short center. Atkins went past the plate on a fadeaway slide, but Cota ran him down and tagged him out.

Replays appeared to show Atkins touched the plate with his left hand as he slid by, and Rockies manager Clint Hurdle was ejected for arguing.

Plate umpire Brian O’Nora declined to comment, but Hurdle had plenty to say.

“From my understanding the guy’s hand touched the plate,” Hurdle said. “I saw it touch the plate the first time.”

Redman hit an RBI triple and scored on a squeeze bunt by Wilson in theninth.

Notes

The Pirates demoted reliever Duaner Sanchez to Nashville and designated outfielder Adam Hyzdu for assignment. … Figueroa is the ninth pitcher to start a game for Pittsburgh this season. … The Pirates won the season series 6-3. … Reyes had six home runs in 370 at-bats at Colorado Springs. … Colorado’s Bobby Estalella has fanned 55 times in 142 at-bats. … It wasHurdle’s fourth ejection this year.

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