The Pirates rode a series of late home runs to a 7-5 victory Sunday, avoiding a sweep in Colorado.
After a leadoff double by Josh Harrison (and by the way, get ready for lots of Josh Harrison in this game), the first inning ground to an annoying halt as Gregory Polanco flubbed two bunt opportunities and then got called out on a strike that wasn't a strike. The bad call was irritating, but it was even more irritating to see the Pirates play for one run with a batter on second and no outs in the first inning of a game in Colorado. As it turned out, the Pirates got no runs that inning.
They did, however, get two in the second after a single, a couple of walks, an RBI single by Harrison and then a sacrifice fly by Polanco. Unfortunately, the Rockies got one back in the second, then had a big inning in the fourth thanks in part to the kind of Pedro Alvarez UFO we've seen so many times this season. After Wilin Rosario reached via Alvarez's throwing error, Brandon Barnes delivered a two-run shot to left. Charlie Blackmon doubled in another run later in the inning to make it 4-2, Rockies.
The Pirates had the bases loaded and none out in the fifth but failed to score, mostly because Jordy Mercer lined into a double play. In the sixth, though, they came back. Chris Stewart led off with a single, and Travis Snider homered to right center to tie the game at four. Then Harrison singled. He stole second but overslid the bag and made his way to third, where he eluded a rundown in highlight-worthy fashion for the second time this season, ducking to escape Rosario's tag. Harrison then came home on an Ike Davis double.
The Rockies tied the game in the seventh when Tony Watson gave up a solo homer to Nolan Arenado. But Harrison homered off Rex Brothers to lead off the eighth, and Polanco followed with a solo homer of his own. Those two hits would prove to be the difference, as Watson pitched a scoreless eighth and Mark Melancon shut the Rockies down on nine pitches in the ninth.
Harrison finished 4-for-6, with a homer, a double and the two ridiculous stolen bases. Stewart went 3-for-4 as the Pirates finished with 16 hits and five walks, leaving Denver behind with an offensive performance worthy of Coors Field.