Hawpe's 2-run HR lifts Rox over Pirates
The Colorado Rockies felt they were robbed of a tying run in the eighth inning. So they went out and won it in the ninth.
Brad Hawpe's two-run homer was part of Colorado's three-run ninth inning and the Rockies rallied for a 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.
Hawpe hit a 1-1 pitch from Matt Capps into the shrubbery beyond the wall in center field, scoring Ian Stewart, who led off the inning with a pinch-hit double. It was Hawpe's sixth homer and it gave him 11 RBIs in his last five games.
"That's why you play the game, for fun moments and opportunities like that," Hawpe said. "You're not going to come through every time, but when you do, then you realize why you love the game."
The Rockies thought they had tied the game at 1 in the eighth on an apparent sacrifice fly by Troy Tulowitzki.
Left fielder Nyjer Morgan made a running catch and pumped a throw toward home then held onto the ball as Seth Smith sprinted down the line and crossed home plate. The Pirates appealed the play and third-base umpire Tim Welke called Smith out for leaving too soon.
Television replays did not conclusively show that Smith left early and Rockies manager Clint Hurdle argued the call to no avail.
"We did show a great deal of resiliency tonight," Hurdle said, "because we got ... that call. ... Calls are made, but an umpire in that position has got to be 100 percent sure on that call.
"You can't make that kind of call and be wrong in that situation. You just can't do it. ... So for us to come back, that was important."
Capps (0-3) blew his second save in his last four outings. Making his third appearance since sitting out a week due to elbow fatigue, Capps has allowed nine runs and 15 hits in his last 4 2-3 innings.
"I thought I got it (inside) enough," Capps said of the fastball to Hawpe, who entered the game tied for fifth in the NL in RBIs. "He put a good swing on it and hit it far enough."
Capps said he is not experiencing any arm pain, and his velocity - 94 mph on the home run, for example - is not lacking.
"He needs to get back on track, obviously," Pirates manager John Russell said. "He'll start hitting his spots and keeping the ball down. When he does that, he's very effective."
Alan Embree (1-1) earned the win with a scoreless eighth, and Huston Street struck out the side in the ninth for his fifth save.
Capps' blown save negated Paul Maholm's seven shutout innings, and took Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa off the hook for another tough-luck loss.
Pinch-hitter Matt Murton's RBI single capped the ninth for Colorado.
Craig Monroe went 2 for 3 and had Pittsburgh's only RBI and Robinzon Diaz had two hits for Pittsburgh, which has lost 10 of its last 12 and 14 of 17.
Tulowitzki, Hawpe and Dexter Fowler all went 2 for 4 for the Rockies.
De La Rosa was charged with one run and seven hits, struck out 10 and didn't issue a walk in seven innings. In his most recent start on May 9, he allowed two runs and four hits with a walk and 12 strikeouts in a 3-1 loss to Florida.
"I just tried to pitch a good game, keep it close," said De La Rosa, who remains 0-3 despite a 3.16 ERA. He has not allowed more than three earned runs since his first start of the season.
Maholm allowed five hits and a walk with four strikeouts in seven innings. He briefly was attended to on the mound during his final inning because of a finger issue but he completed the inning and said afterward he was fine.
"I gave the team a chance to win, kept us in the game," Maholm said. "It's frustrating for everyone in here."
Monroe's two-out single to left in the sixth accounted for the only run in the game's first eight innings.
"Anytime you come from behind late in a baseball game, it's very exciting," Smith said.
Colorado's Ryan Spilborghs made a home run-saving catch in the left field corner on a ball hit by Jack Wilson leading off the third. He also made a basket catch with two on and two outs in the eighth on a ball hit by Adam LaRoche. "You can't play left field better than Ryan did tonight," Hurdle said. ... Rockies pinch hitters went 3 for 3. ... It was the opener of a 10-game trip for Colorado, and the start of a stretch of 21 of 27 and 30 of 45 away from Coors Field. ... Rockies 1B Todd Helton went 1 for 4, leaving him two hits short of 2,000. ... The Pirates had faced a left-handed starter in only one of their previous 20 games.