DENVER (AP) - History was stacked against Paul Maholm at Coors Field. So when he pitched well there Saturday night for the Pittsburgh Pirates, save for two pitches, the Colorado Rockies made Maholm pay and beat the Pirates 4-1.
``Paulie pitched good enough to win,' Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. ``In this ballpark, four runs, seven innings, that's a good start. We weren't able to help him out on the offensive side.'
Maholm (1-4) pitched seven innings, six of them scoreless. He took the mound with a 1-0 lead, courtesy of Andrew McCuthen's leadoff homer in the first off Jason Hammel(3-1). But that lead vanished in the space of four batters in the second, and Maholm's record fell to 1-8 with a 6.63 ERA in 10 starts against the Rockies and 1-6 with a 7.13 ERA in seven starts at Coors Field.
Carlos Gonzalez led off the second inning for the Rockies with a double off the left field wall, the line drive eluding Matt Diaz, who entered the game in the bottom of the first after Jose Tabata felt tightness in his right hamstring while running out a grounder in the top of the inning.
Jose Lopez, mired in a 1-for-18 slump and batting just .152, bunted the ball far enough from Maholm for a single. Seth Smith hit a ball off the end of bat that rolled toward third baseman Pedro Alvarez for a single, and Chris Iannetta got into a 3-1 pitch and homered to right-center.
Maholm had allowed one homer in 31 innings entering the second inning, and that hit by Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies on April 7 in the Pirates home opener. For Iannetta, who had one hit in his previous 17 at_bats, the homer was his third of the year.
``I missed two pitches,' said Maholm, who finished with 101 pitches, 64 strikes. ``Gonzalez's double and Iannetta's home run - both pitches were up. They're a good team and if you make bad pitches, it's going to happen. Just got to keep grinding it out and expect it to kind of turn around for you.'
The Rockies and Pirates each finished with seven hits. And the Rockies had just one hit after the third inning, a seventh-inning single by Jonathan Herrera. But the Pirates were never able to mount a rally against Hammel, who threw six scoreless innings after McCutchen's homer and was helped by double plays in three consecutive innings.
Hammel walked Maholm with one out in the fifth and gave up a single to McCutchen, but Diaz grounded into a double play. After Neil Walker singled with one out in the sixth, Lyle Overbay grounded into a double play started by first baseman Todd Helton. In the seventh, Hammel walked Chris Snyder to start the inning, but Alvarez grounded to Helton, who started another double play.
``The three double plays really took away any momentum that we'd gotten going,' Hurdle said. ``That really was the story on the offensive side. We scratched out as many hits as they did. They had a three-run homer. We had a solo shot.'
The Pirates, who finished April with a 12-15 record, have alternated between a win and a loss in their past nine games as they failed to win back-to-back games for the first time since April 17-18. For the seventh straight game, the Pirates have not scored more than four runs, and they have had more than 10 hits once in the past 11 games.
Hurdle said Tabata would be given ``a couple days' off, and the Pirates would ``try and navigate maybe a man short' before determining whether a roster move would have to be made.
NOTES: Prior to the game, the Pirates placed RHP Evan Meek (right shoulder tendinitis) on the 15-day disabled list and recalled LHP Daniel Moskos. He made his major league debut with a perfect eighth ... Helton's first-inning double for the Rockies increased his career total to 533, one shy of tying Lou Gehrig for 30th on the all-time list. ... Of Iannetta's 10 hits this season, seven have gone for extra bases, including three home runs. ... McCutchen's eight leadoff homers rank third on the Pirates' all-time list behind Barry Bonds (20) and Al Martin (10).
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved