Pirates 15, Rockies 10, 12 innings
DENVER (AP)—During a workout five hours before the game, Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon told his players to avoid trying to do too much with Raul Mondesi out of the lineup.
Craig Wilson apparently took the talk to heart.
Wilson homered twice, drove in a career-high seven runs and had a three-run triple in Pittsburgh’s five-run 12th inning, helping the Pirates end a six-game losing streak with a 15-10 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.
“Not one player has to step up,” Wilson said. “It’s going to take a few players to make up for his loss. It’s a blow to lose someone of his ability.”
Mondesi was placed on the restricted list before the game, a day after the outfielder said he plans to sit out the rest of the season. The Pirates seemed to be in a bind after losing their cleanup hitter, but Wilson more than made up for it.
Hitting fifth and filling Mondesi’s spot in right, Wilson hit a three-run homer in the fifth, had a solo shot in the eighth and sealed with victory with his triple to center off Javier Lopez (0-1) in the 12th. He finished 4-for-5 and scored in the 12th on Chris Stynes’ single.
“Seven RBIs is pretty good anywhere you play,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “You know he is a fastball hitter and we gave him some fastballs.”
Vinny Castilla and Jeromy Burnitz each drove in three runs, Royce Clayton tied a team record with three doubles and Matt Holliday homered for Colorado. The Rockies scored five runs in the third inning, rallied from a two-run deficit in the eighth and had 19 hits, including 10 for extra bases.
It still wasn’t enough to stop them from losing for the fifth time in seven games.
“We can’t make a lot of mistakes and expect to win the ball game,” Hurdle said. “We made way too many mistakes on the mound and we missed some opportunities. We tried hard, but it didn’t happen.”
Jose Castillo had something to do with it.
Pittsburgh’s second baseman hit into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the 10th inning, but made up for it in the bottom half.
The Rockies, out of position players, sent pitcher Jason Jennings up with Clayton on second and two outs. Castillo couldn’t get to Jennings’ chopper up the middle in time to make a play at first, but he got just enough of the ball to keep it in the infield.
Clayton rounded third and headed home, but shortstop Jack Wilson picked up the ball and easily threw him out at the plate.
Castillo also made a diving stop to save a run in the ninth.
“Don’t forget the plays Castillo made,” Craig Wilson said. “It wasn’t just offense.”
But there was plenty of that.
The Pirates got two in the fourth on consecutive groundouts, then took a 6-5 lead in the fifth on Craig Wilson’s three-run shot just over the wall in right-center.
Burnitz hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning and Castilla had a sacrifice fly in the sixth to put Colorado up 8-6, but the Rockies couldn’t hold the lead.
This time it was Pittsburgh that couldn’t hold the lead.
It wasn’t until Rob Mackowiak knocked in the go-ahead run with a single in the 12th that the Pirates finally put it away.
“Our guys know this ballpark,” McClendon said. “They knew it was going to be one of those types of games. I told them to keep grinding it out and some good things are going to happen.”
Salomon Torres (2-1) allowed three hits in two innings to pick up the win.
Rockies starter Scott Elarton had another shaky outing, allowing six runs and eight hits in five innings.
“We needed a big game out of him today,” Hurdle said. “We spotted him afive-run lead, and he wasn’t able to close the door.”
Helton is the only player to play in all 32 of Colorado’s games. … Craig Wilson’s homer in the eighth was the first hit Tim Harikkala has allowed in 10 innings this season. Chris Stynes had another a few seconds later. … Colorado is 4-12 in night games. … Brian Meadows had retired 15 straight batters before Clayton’s double in the eighth. … The Pirates had hit sevenstraight solo homers before Wilson’s three-run shot.