Rockies' Chacin continues road dominance

John Perrotto, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

PITTSBURGH -- Take Colorado pitcher Jhoulys Chacin out of Coors Field and he becomes one the best pitchers in baseball.
Chacin turned in another strong road effort Friday night, allowing one run in eight innings, to become a 10-game winner and help the Colorado Rockies to a 4-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the opener of a three-game series at PNC Park.
Chacin allowed six hits, all coming in the first four innings, as he retired the final 14 batters he faced. Chacin struck out three and did not walk a batter.
"His command was electric," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "He was throwing strikes with everything. He dotted the glove up for eight innings, kept the ball down. There wasn't a lot of breathing room, not a lot of mistakes."
In eight starts away from Coors Field this season, Chacin (10-5) is 4-2 with a sparkling 1.78 ERA as he has allowed nine earned runs in 50 2/3 innings. Chacin also holds the Rockies' single-season road ERA record of 2.44, which he set in 2010.
"I think the ball just moves more outside of Coors Field," Chacin said. "I just try to throw my sinker in the middle and just let the hitter get me groundballs."
Chacin has pitched well everywhere lately, going 7-2 with a 2.11 in ERA in his last 10 starts since June 11.
Chacin helped Colorado bounce back from a nightmarish four-game series at Atlanta in which the Rockies were swept and outscored 40-13 by the Braves. The Rockies had lost 17 of their previous 23 road games, being outscored 123-60.
"He was outstanding, exactly what we needed," Colorado manager Walt Weiss said. "We needed to save the bullpen and he went out there and gave us eight innings and was as good as he can be.
"Jhoulys has shown that this year, we gave him the responsibility of being a top-of-the-rotation guy, and he's taken it and he's run with it."
Rex Brothers held on for his eighth save in nine opportunities after allowing back-to-back doubles to Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez with one out in the ninth that enabled the Pirates to draw within 4-2.
Weiss, rather than pitching coach Jim Wright, visited the mound after the doubles.
"Walt said, 'Carve these next two guys up,'" Brothers said Wright told him. "Simple as that and back to the dugout."
Troy Tulowitzki hit his 20th home run of the season in the second inning, a solo shot to left, to open the scoring and also singled in the winning run for Colorado, while Todd Helton hit a two-run single and Corey Dickerson had two hits.
The Rockies scored three runs in the sixth to snap the 1-1 tie.
Dexter Fowler drew a leadoff walk, stole second base and moved to third on Dickerson's one-out single. Justin Wilson relieved Gerrit Cole and allowed both inherited runners to score and was also charged with a run of his own. Tulowitzki's infield single brought home the go-ahead run and Helton followed with a two-run single.
Cole (5-5) took the loss, giving up three runs and three hits in 5 1/3 innings with six strikeouts and two walks. In three of his last four starts, the rookie had pitched into the seventh inning.
"I didn't give them a whole lot to work with but they got enough and that's about all that matters," Cole said. "I just felt like we played a good game. We just didn't string hits together at the right times early. I feel like they (the Rockies) got one tonight.
"We played really good defense, put some really good wood on the ball. I did everything I could to minimize the damage and be selective with my pitches but it didn't' work out. That's the way baseball is some days."
Neil Walker and McCutchen, who hit an RBI single in the third for the only run off Chacin, both had two hits for Pittsburgh, which grounded into double plays in the second, third and fourth innings.
The Pirates have lost back-to-back games to begin August after entering the month with the best record in the major leagues at 65-42. They went a combined 37-78 from Aug. 1 on during the previous two seasons.
NOTES: Colorado LF Carlos Gonzalez was out of the lineup with a sprained right middle finger for the fifth time in the last eight games but entered the game in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement. Though the injury has been bothering Gonzalez for three weeks, the Rockies will not put him on the disabled list. Instead, Gonzalez, who has hit 26 home runs this season, will try to play through the pain and the Rockies will give him maintenance days off to help manage the situation. ... Colorado RF Michael Cuddyer missed his second straight game to attend to a personal matter but is expected to return to the team Saturday. ... Pittsburgh activated RHP Jared Hughes from the 15-day disabled list and optioned RHP Vic Black to Triple-A Indianapolis. Hughes pitched one scoreless inning of relief. ... On Saturday night, Rockies LHP Jorge De La Rosa (10-5, 3.21) will face Pirates LHP Francisco Liriano (11-4, 2.16).

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