DENVER (AP) -The faltering Colorado Rockies were fed up and frustrated as their skid climbed to seven games.
They're stranding runners, giving up late runs and, in a new twist, losing players to freak injuries.
Zach Duke threw six solid innings to help the Pittsburgh Pirates snap a four-game skid Tuesday night with a 4-2 win over a struggling Rockies team that lost Huston Street to a bizarre injury before the game even began.
Their standout closer bruised the right side of his abdomen when he was hit by a line drive as he warmed up in right field during batting practice.
Street was taken off the field by ambulance, examined at a local hospital and sent home to rest. His availability will be on a day-to-day basis.
``It's never good to lose a closer, or anybody for that matter,' Clint Barmes said. ``But I can't say that it affected the way we played tonight.'
No, that would boil down to baserunning blunders and not driving in runners - a recurring theme for a squad in the midst of their longest losing streak since September 2008.
``Scoring opportunities are something that continues to haunt us,' Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.
The Rockies returned home from a disastrous 2-9 road trip reinvigorated by the return of All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who has been sidelined for nearly six weeks with a broken left wrist.
But that was marred by the injury to Street and then another close loss.
``We've been playing bad baseball,' Barmes said. ``We're not doing the little things.'
Duke (5-9) picked up the win for a second straight outing, something that hasn't happened for the lefty since his first two starts of the season. He gave up three hits and struck out four in his third start since returning from the disabled list with a left elbow ailment.
``I wouldn't say I'm stronger or better, I just feel like myself,' said Duke, who was on the disabled list for nearly a month. ``I'm not trying to do too much. It's about executing pitches instead of worrying about trying to make a pitch better.'
Evan Meek worked out of trouble in the seventh, stranding Miguel Olivo at third after he led off the inning with a double.
In the next frame, Ryan Spilborghs was thrown out at third trying to stretch a double into a triple.
These days, that's the way things have been going for Colorado.
``I can't explain it. For whatever reason, we haven't been good at doing that lately,' Barmes said of scoring runs.
The only bad frame for Duke came in the fifth when he surrendered back-to-back homers to Brad Hawpe and Barmes.
Hawpe drilled the first pitch from Duke into the seats in left. Three pitches later, Barmes delivered one to almost the exact same spot.
Other than that, he was spot-on with his pitches.
``For the most part, he kept them off balance, kept the ball down and gave us a chance,' Pirates manager John Russell explained. ``When he's on, that's what he does.'
Garrett Jones broke a 2-all game with an RBI double in the sixth and Neil Walker provided some insurance in the eighth with a solo shot.
Jorge De La Rosa (3-3) settled down after a shaky start, going seven innings and allowing three runs - two earned. De La Rosa remains winless in four starts since coming off the disabled list with a torn tendon in his left middle finger.
The Pirates pounced on De La Rosa in the first, pushing across two runs. Andrew McCutchen led off the game with a double and scored on an RBI single by Jose Tabata.
De La Rosa almost worked his way out of more trouble after Tulowitzki turned a double play. But De La Rosa then bounced a pitch to home, allowing Tabata to score from third.
NOTES: The Pirates recalled RHP Steven Jackson and purchased the contract of LHP Wil Ledezma from Indianapolis. ... To make room for Tulowitzki, the Rockies designated 1B Brad Eldred for assignment. ... Tulowitzki had a rough day at the plate, going 0 for 4. But he made a nifty play in the second inning, going deep into the hole and throwing across his body to get Ronny Cedeno at first.
The Associated Press News Service
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