Starling Marte, Jordy Mercer and Josh Harrison all slammed long home runs and Jameson Taillon picked up his National League leading second complete game as the Pirates snapped a three game losing streak with a resounding 10-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies in Denver.
Marte, who entered the series with a career 5.00 batting average in Coors Field, gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead two batters into the game when he slammed a shot 453 feet to center field.
As with several recent games, for several innings that was all the scoring until suddenly everything collapsed for Rockies’ starter Chad Bettis. Pittsburgh scored more runs in the fourth inning than they had in their previous three games. Gregory Polanco led off with a walk and went to second on David Freese’s line single to left. After Colin Moran moved both runners up with a soft ground out, Francisco Cervelli walked to load the bases. Harrison lifted a sacrifice fly to deep left center for the second out but Mercer sent the ball 443 feet to the seats in center for three more runs, staking the Pirates to an insurmountable 5-0 lead.
But still they’d add more. Five in the fifth, to be exact. Corey Dickerson and Marte singled to open the inning and Polanco grounded another hit to right to score Dickerson. Freese added anther sacrifice fly and after Moran fanned Cervelli doubled down the left field line to score Polanco from first. Down 8-0, Colorado manager Bud Black finally went out to retrieve Bettis, but Harrison immediately took reliever Jake McGee 421 feet to right center for another pair of runs and a 10-0 Pirates lead.
Meanwhile Taillon kept his pitch counts low in scattering base runners. The Rockies finally broke through for two runs on three straight hits in the sixth, both scoring on a Carlos Gonzalez double. Taillon gave up two more singles in the seventh, one in the eighth and two in the ninth, but the only question was whether he’d get to 27 outs before running out of his pitch allotment. In the end it took him 107 to close out the game, 70 for strikes en route to a 69 game score.
The Pirates are back to two games over .500 at 58-56, in fourth place, 8.5 games behind the Cubs in the Central, and 5.0 games out of the second Wild Card.
The series concludes at 3:10 pm Eastern on Wednesday as Chris Archer (3-5, 4.40) faces right-hander German Marquez (9-8, 4.70)