PITTSBURGH (AP) - An unwanted man by the worst team in baseball this past offseason, Ryan Doumit showed flashes of the promise that once had the Pittsburgh Pirates viewing him as one of their cornerstones for the future.
The slugging catcher homered for the first time this season and doubled in going 2 for 3 during Pittsburgh's 6-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night.
Doumit entered the game 4 for 19 with only one extra-base hit in what - one way or another - is likely his final season in Pittsburgh.
``I felt good today, you know?' Doumit said. ``Hopefully I can keep it going.
``I'm starting to get there. It's really early. It's too early to make any sort of judgment calls on anything. (But) I had a good night tonight and I felt good tonight.'
Doumit's two-run homer in the second inning briefly gave the Pirates their only lead of the game. He also doubled in the seventh, leading to a run that tied the game at 3 before ex-Pirate Ty Wigginton's three-run double in the eighth off Jose Veras (0-1) provided the decisive runs for Colorado.
Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton allowed only two earned runs over seven innings but for the second consecutive game walked five.
Doumit made his fourth consecutive opening day start for Pittsburgh only because Chris Snyder opened the season on the disabled list with a back injury - and because the Pirates could find no takers over the offseason for Doumit's $5.2 million 2011 contract after Snyder was acquired from Arizona at the 2010 trade deadline.
It is unlikely the Pirates will pick up Doumit's pricey options for 2012 and '13 - if he's not traded by then.
More nights like Saturday and perhaps a contending team will take notice and make an offer for him.
``Even the one out that he had, to left field,' Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Doumit, ``he hit three balls pretty well today.'
Wigginton also hit a ball pretty well down the left-field line in a key situation for the second consecutive night. This time, it got past Pedro Alvarez.
One night after he was robbed by Pittsburgh's third baseman with the bases loaded in a game that went 14 innings, Wigginton came through.
``This one I think was hit harder, and the only way he makes this play is if he's straddling the bag along the third base line,' Hurdle said. ``You pitch in traffic two straight nights, usually it doesn't end up well - and we've done a lot of that the last two nights.'
Jose Tabata added a solo shot for the second consecutive game for Pittsburgh, extending his hitting streak to nine games, the majors' longest. The Pirates' bullpen was also short-handed, forcing Hurdle to use starter Kevin Correia in the ninth.
Pittsburgh's offense, which has yet to break out, generated few scoring chances.
``We just have a couple bats that are close to opening up,' Hurdle said. ``It sure would help our offense if we get a couple more guys in play.'
At 5-2, the Rockies have tied the 1998 team for the second-best start in franchise history.
Both of Colorado's losses have been in extra innings, including a 4-3 setback in 14 on Friday, when manager Jim Tracy was forced to use eight pitchers, including closer Huston Street for three innings.
Matt Belisle (1-0), who has pitched in all three games of the series, got the win and Matt Lindstrom worked the ninth for his first save, getting Steve Pearce to hit into a game-ending double play.
Seth Smith homered for the Rockies, lining a shot over the right-field wall that nearly rolled into a boat in the Allegheny River.
Smith put the Rockies up 3-2 in the sixth with his homer. Morton grooved a 1-0 fastball that Smith crushed, driving it to right-center. The ball hit a concrete walkway, hopped over a wall and rolled down an embankment and would have plopped into the murky river if it hadn't struck the boat docked outside the stadium.
NOTES: The Pirates placed starter Ross Ohlendorf on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right shoulder after he had removed himself from Friday night's game against Colorado in the third inning when he felt discomfort in the same area of his shoulder that landed him on the 60-day DL to end last season.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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