Rockies 9, Pirates 3

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PITTSBURGH (AP)—Luis Gonzalez got an unexpected start, and got exactly the pitch he was looking for in the fourth inning.

Gonzalez, a late addition to Colorado’s starting lineup, hit a three-run homer and Jeff Fassero pitched seven strong innings to lead the Rockies to a 9-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.

Gonzalez was added to the lineup when second baseman Aaron Miles was hit by a line drive in batting practice. Miles bruised his right hand and X-rays were negative, but he’s listed as day to day.

In the fourth inning, Matt Holliday hit a one-out single and Fassero—a career .085 hitter coming in—hit a two-out single to put runners on first and second. Kip Wells threw a hanging slider on a 1-2 count and Gonzalez smashed it just inside the left-field foul pole for his ninth home run of the season.

“I was looking for it,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez’s homer gave the Rockies a 5-1 lead and helped the 41-year-old Fassero (3-8) rebound from one of the worst starts of his career.

“That was the big swing of the game,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.

“He just took the opportunity and cashed me in,” Wells said.

Vinny Castilla and Preston Wilson also homered for the Rockies, have won 13 of their past 17 road games and are just one shy of last year’s victory total of 25 away from Coors Field.

Fassero was coming off a terrible start Sunday against Cincinnati. He gave up a career-high 11 runs in three innings in that one, but rebounded to give up just four hits and three runs Friday. Fassero walked four and struck out one.

“I made adjustments after the last game,” he said. “I pretty much kept the ball down. That’s the key. You get the ball down, you don’t get hurt.”

Wells (5-7) was hurt early and often. He allowed 11 hits, tying a season high, and gave up six runs in 5 1-3 innings. He hasn’t won back-to-back games this year and hasn’t won at home since April 5.

“Kip just didn’t have his best stuff,” Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. “His slider wasn’t very good, and his fastball seemed to lose something after the first inning.”

The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the second on Jose Castillo’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly.

Castilla gave Colorado a 2-1 lead with a two-out, two-run homer in the third. Wells walked Todd Helton walked before Castilla hit his 24th homer over the left-field fence.

Jason Bay hit a solo shot off Fassero in the sixth, his 16th of the season— the most by a Pirates rookie since Al Martin hit 18 in 1993.

Wilson’s two-run homer off reliever Brian Meadows in the seventh made it 8-3. J.D. Closser hit an RBI double in the ninth to cap the scoring.


Tike Redman drew a standing ovation when he made a diving catch on the warning track in the sixth, robbing Jeromy Burnitz of an extra-base hit. … The Pirates are 8-16 against left-handers. … The Rockies clinched a third consecutive winning road trip of two or more opponents, a first in franchise history. … Castilla is two RBIs short of reaching 100 for the first time since 1999.

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