Rockies hit three home runs to beat Pirates, 5-2

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DENVER (AP)—Seth Smith was thinking extra bases when he left the batters box. He never expected to score standing up.

Smith hit an inside-the-park home run, and Matt Holliday and Brad Hawpe each hit their 15th homers of the season to lead the Colorado Rockies to a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.

“When I hit it I was thinking double, and when it hit the wall I was thinking triple,” Smith said of his second homer of the season. “When I got to third I was hoping I wouldn’t trip over it.”

Smith’s homer to lead off the seventh capped a three home run night for the Rockies, who have won their first two games out of the All-Star break.

But in a park known for it’s tape-measure shots, an inside-the-park home run is a rarity. It’s happened only seven times at Coors Field and three times this year. Jeff Baker did it against the Indians on June 17 and Philadelphia’s Jayson Werth did it on April 21.

Baker and Werth needed a mad dash to score. Smith jogged across the plate without a play at home for the final run of the night.

“Really not that close of a play at home,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “You don’t see that very often.”

Smith was able to score easily because the ball caromed off the bottom of the wall and past Pirates center fielder Nate McLouth, who overran the ball.

“It had to hit cement in the corner where right-center and center field meet and got a real bad bounce,” McLouth said. “I knew right when it hit the wall, I knew there was nothing I could do. It rolled a long time.”

Holliday hit a conventional two-run homer in the first inning—his fifth in his last 12 games—and Hawpe lead off the sixth with a home run to give Colorado a 4-2 lead against Ian Snell (3-8). That was more than enough to allow Glendon Rusch (2-1) to get the win.

Rusch lasted 5 2-3 innings and gave up two runs in winning his second straight start since being recalled from Triple-A on July 5.

“Very reminiscent of his start in Milwaukee,” Hurdle said. “Those are two good starts.”

Rusch was staked to a 3-0 lead after Will Taveras manufactured a run in the second. Taveras drew a two-out walk, stole second and third and scored when catcher Ryan Doumit’s throw to third sailed into left field.

Snell settled down after that, allowing just one more hit until Hawpe’s homer.

“Command was a problem at first,” Pirates manager John Russell said. “Then he got into a pretty nice rhythm.”

The Pirates got a run back when Jose Bautista hit his 11th home run to lead off the third inning.

Pittsburgh threatened again in the sixth. With one out Freddy Sanchez and Doumit had back-to-back singles, and Jason Bay hit a sacrifice fly to make it 3-2. Jason Grilli relieved Rusch after Adam LaRoche’s bloop single put runners on the corners, and Grilli struck out Jason Michaels to end the threat.

Three Colorado relievers retired the final 10 Pittsburgh batters, and Brian Fuentes pitched the ninth to earn his 16 save in 20 chances.

“Anytime you go to your bullpen you’re looking for quick, efficient outs, and I thought we were able to get those,” Hurdle said.


Snell gave up four runs and struck out five in six innings. … Colorado has 11 inside-the-park home runs in its history. … Rockies LHP Jeff Francis (shoulder inflammation) will throw a bullpen session Saturday before heading out on a minor league rehab assignment Monday at Class-A Modesto. … Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzi (lacerated right hand) is 2-for-9 in two rehab assignments with Double-A Tulsa. … Colorado pushed back RHP Aaron Cook’s start to Sunday after he threw three innings and 42 pitches in Tuesday’s All-Star game.

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