DENVER (AP)—Colorado’s series against the Pittsburgh Pirates left Rockies manager Clint Hurdle feeling sick.
The Pirates took three of four games from the Rockies, who have lost four of five and are struggling to stay in the NL West race. They were seven back of division-leading Arizona entering play Thursday.
“This series stings,” Hurdle said. “We are in a position we want to be in and have trouble against a team that played very well for four days.”
Phelps, who was acquired off waivers from the New York Yankees on June 22, went 4-for-5 in his sixth start for the Pirates. Maholm (10-14) allowed a run, walked two and struck out five in winning for the fifth time in seven starts.
“I’ve got some stuff that I’m sticking to that I’m ready when I get up there,” Phelps said. “I’m not wasting any time and I take the approach that I’m gonna take a rip at the first thing I think I can handle and after that I’m going to let it fall where it may.”
Franklin Morales (0-1) struggled with his control in his second career start, walking five in four-plus innings for Colorado. He was charged with four runs and seven hits.
Phelps doubled in Freddy Sanchez with two outs in the first to put Pittsburgh in front. Phelps also doubled in Jack Wilson and Sanchez in the third and scored on Jose Bautista’s single to make it 4-0.
“Josh has been understanding of his role here and contributed when he’s been called upon,” Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. “It’s up to me to find playing time for him and give him the chance to contribute.”
Jason Bay singled in a run in the ninth for the Pirates, who finished with 10 hits.
Helton singled and scored on Spilborghs’ groundout in the fourth.
“It was one of those things that I was really just trying to limit the damage and go right after them,” Maholm said. “I was getting into favorable counts and threw some good breaking balls.”
“We only made things tough for ourselves,” Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said.
A sore hamstring kept Pittsburgh OF Xavier Nady out of the lineup. … LHP Shane Youman will pitch the second game of a doubleheader Tuesday for the Pirates against Cincinnati. … OF Jamey Carroll was in right field to give the Rockies another right-handed bat against Maholm. … Colorado won the season series 4-3.