DENVER (AP) - Carlos Gonzalez had a bunt single in his last at-bat of the night to snap an 0-for-25 skid.
But like the Colorado Rockies offense as a whole, it accomplished little in a 3-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the snow Friday.
After leading the NL in hitting last season, Gonzalez is among several Rockies who are struggling through a slow start. He's batting .216 and three other position players who were in the lineup against the Pirates are stuck below .200.
``We've got some guys who are searching, obviously,' manager Jim Tracy said. ``They may be pressing a little bit, but they're professional guys and there is a lot of experience in the clubhouse. They realize this will turn, as do I.'
Gonzalez, who batted .336 last year, shares his manager's belief that it will turn around.
``I'm not worried about the streak, 0 for whatever,' he said. ``I'm not concentrating on hitting home runs. I'm just trying to get good swings and try to get back to where I was. I know it's going to happen. I know the hits are going to come. It's hard because everyone expects you to do well every night.'
Kevin Correia (4-2) pitched effectively into the seventh inning to handcuff the Rockies. Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones each hit a solo homer for the Pirates, who shut out the Rockies at Coors Field for the first time.
The victory against a Rockies team that came in tied with Cleveland and Philadelphia for the most wins (16) in the majors sweetened the homecoming for first-year Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle. He spent 15 years with the Colorado organization, including eight seasons as manager, and guided the Rockies to their only World Series appearance in 2007.
Hurdle knows well how tough it is to keep the Rockies scoreless, the weather notwithstanding.
``It's impressive that this is our first shutout at this ballpark, so good for us,' he said. ``It's hard to shut down any club that the Rockies have had at home, especially that team over there right now. But our guys are building confidence on the road. We've gotten to a good place on the road, where we know we've got to take the ballgame to them.'
The Rockies were limited to five singles and the heart of their batting order - Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki and Todd Helton - were a combined 1 for 12 during a game that was played in intermittent snow over the final couple of innings. Gonzalez bunted his way on in the ninth before Joel Hanrahan retired the next three batters for his eighth save in eight chances.
Colorado starter Jhoulys Chacin (3-2) went seven innings and allowed three runs on six hits, including two homers, but kept the Rockies in it.
``The only thing you can do is try to pitch well and keep your team in the game,' he said.
Chacin, who had eight strikeouts and no walks, had not allowed a run over 16 innings in winning his previous two starts at home before giving up a solo homer in the third. McCutchen drove his 2-1 offering over the center-field wall for his fourth home run of the season.
The Pirates made it 2-0 in the sixth as Jones connected for his fifth home run, a two-out drive off Chacin that sailed into the right-field seats.
NOTES: Prior to the game, the Rockies recalled INF Alfredo Amezaga from Colorado Springs and optioned RHP Clayton Mortensen to their Triple-A affiliate. In a separate move, the Rockies designated RHP Alan Johnson for assignment. ... Ronny Cedeno's RBI triple was the first by a Pirates player this season. The Pirates were the last team in the majors to hit a triple. ... With one game remaining in April, the Rockies are one win shy of the team record for most wins in the month. The 1997 Rockies, under Hurdle, had 17 wins during April. ... Pittsburgh is 4-1 when hitting two or more homers.
The Associated Press News Service
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