Hit in the head by a line drive, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Ross Ohlendorf considered himself fortunate.
Ohlendorf left after being struck on the right side of the face by Troy Tulowitzki’s line drive in the first inning Wednesday night. The bruised starter was checked at a hospital and returned to Coors Field before the Pirates sent the Colorado Rockies to their eighth straight loss, 6-2.
”I guess I got lucky,” Ohlendorf said. ”I threw a fastball away, and he hit it real hard. It’s kind of funny. Last year he hit a ball hard back at me, but it bounced once. It kind of knocked the wind out of me.
”First reaction was just surprise and then upset a little bit, because I knew they were probably going to want to take me out,” he said.
Ohlendorf said he had never been in the head with a batted ball and said he might have been able to continue. He was left with a bad contusion and an abrasion.
”I felt if they gave me a minute to regroup, I probably could have,” he said. ”But I think it’s best that I didn’t. They probably should have run tests like they did.”
A CT scan was negative.
Ohlendorf managed to stay on his feet after being hit. The ball ricocheted into right field for an RBI single.
A concerned Tulowitzki squatted at first base as Russell and the Pirates gathered around Ohlendorf. The pitcher said he was told that Tulowitzki asked for his phone number.
To Pirates manager John Russell, it was an easy decision to pull Ohlendorf.
”You could tell he was dazed a little bit,” Russell said. ”He said he wanted to stay in, but with something like that, you can’t taken any chances.”
Russell turned to his bullpen for the final 25 outs of the game and Garrett Jones homered twice to lead Pittsburgh.
The Pirates, now 13-38 on the road, won consecutive games away from PNC Park for the first time since mid-May at Chicago.
Colorado last lost eight straight in June 2008. Carlos Gonzalez homered for the Rockies.
The Rockies know that their 2-11 skid since the All-Star break has been a worst-case scenario, maybe one with long-term consequences as far as their postseason hopes.
”We are struggling terribly,” said manager Jim Tracy, who took over the team on May 29, 2009. ”We have to get the ebb and flow of our game back together. This is the toughest stretch for us since I took over.”
Sean Gallagher (1-0), acquired July 7 from San Diego, pitched three hitless innings. Five more relievers finished it out for the Pirates.
”It was good to be able to get out there and execute pitches like I know I’m able to,” said Gallagher, who had a 6.75 ERA in five previous appearances with the Pirates. ”I felt like I had a better idea of where everything was going to end up. In the other outings, it was more, ‘Who knows?”’
Jones drove in three runs with his third career two-homer game and second this season. Neil Walker singled home two runs in a four-run third when Aaron Cook (4-7) was chased during his shortest start since last Aug. 16.
It was the second straight poor outing for Cook, who allowed five runs in 4 1-3 innings in a loss Friday at Philadelphia. He gave up a leadoff homer in the second to Jones.
Ohlendorf gave up three hard-hit balls to start the game. Seth Smith led off with a single but was doubled off first when Jonathan Herrera lined out. Gonzalez then singled and took third when Jones missed Ohlendorf’s pickoff attempt. Tulowitzki then hit a line drive toward the mound.
Cook began the third with a strikeout, but walked Gallagher and gave up five consecutive singles before giving way to Manuel Corpas. The first hit by Andrew McCutchen briefly landed in the glove of Gonzalez, who ran into left-center to make the play and was originally charged with an error.
Jose Tabata followed by chopping a high bouncer that second baseman Jonathan Herrera fielded, but Brad Hawpe, playing his fourth game in the majors at first base, strayed too far from the base in pursuit of the ball, and Herrera had no throw. Walker then singled home two runs, and Jones and Pedro Alvarez followed with RBI singles as the Rockies got less than six innings from their starter for the fifth time in the past six games.
”I had a rough night,” said Cook, who came into the game 3-0 with a 3.25 ERA at Coors Field this season. ”I gave them too many pitches to hit.”
NOTES: Rockies closer Huston Street was not available and remains day-to-day. Manager Jim Tracy said Street was still very sore after suffering a right abdominal contusion Tuesday when hit with a line drive during batting practice. … Rockies 1B Todd Helton will drive to Casper on Thursday and play there Friday through Sunday on a rehab assignment with the Rockies affiliate in the Rookie Pioneer League. Helton, who last played July 4 for the Rockies, is on the disabled list with lower back stiffness. … Rockies C Chris Iannetta was scratched from the lineup to be with his wife, Lisa, who gave birth Wednesday to their first child, Ashley Brooke, who weighed 6 pounds, 9 ounces. Iannetta returned from the hospital and was on the bench for the start of the game. … The Pirates have homered in four straight games, matching their season high.