If Rob Manfred wants more balls in play, he's probably pleased with Friday night's game.
Gerrit Cole had the first strikeout-free start of his career, Rockies starter Eddie Butler fanned just one and the Pirates clustered their hits just well enough to edge Colorado, 2-1.
Cole allowed 10 hits -- nine singles and a Nolan Arenado home run -- and walked one, still making it through seven innings.
The Pirates took an early lead as John Jaso singled and Andrew McCutchen doubled to start the bottom of the first, and a Gregory Polanco groundout scored Jaso. Neither Starling Marte nor Francisco Cervelli could bring McCutchen in from third, and the Pirates also squandered back-to-back hits by Cole and Jaso to start the third.
Meanwhile, Cole gave up a bunch of singles and got out of a few jams. Carlos Gonzalez to lined into a double play to end a first-inning threat. The Rockies loaded the bases with one out in the fourth, but Jaso got the forceout at home on Gerardo Parra's grounder, and D.J. LeMahieu bounced out to Josh Harrison to end the inning.
Arenado smashed a solo homer to left field in the sixth, which, coming after so many chances for big innings, would have annoyed me if I were a Rockies fan.
The 1-1 tie didn't last long. Marte singled in the bottom of the inning and took second after Butler's pickoff throw got away -- it looked like it was going to be a close play. They almost picked Marte off of second, but the safe call was upheld after Walt Weiss' challenge. With two outs, David Freese singled to center to score Marte for the 2-1 advantage.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Charlie Blackmon singled to left and catcher Dustin Garneau tried to score the tying run from second, but a near-perfect throw from Marte nabbed him. Tony Watson pitched a quick eighth and Mark Melancon danced through two singles to nail down the save.
The Rockies outhit the Bucs, 12-8, with Arenado and old pest Mark Reynolds each getting three hits.