PITTSBURGH (AP) — Charlie Blackmon got three extra-base hits and keyed a two-run rally in the ninth inning that sent the Colorado Rockies past the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 on Sunday.
Blackmon hit two doubles and a triple as the Rockies ended a five-game losing streak. They were shut out in both games of a doubleheader against Pittsburgh on Saturday.
The four-time All-Star said he completely changed his gameday routine, without going into detail, after going 1 for 5 in the two games Saturday. Blackmon had three hits for the second time in 50 games this season, last doing so with three singles against the St. Louis Cardinals on May 8.
“I kind of like pulled out the stops today,” Blackmon said. “It’s so hard to control your performance in baseball once the game starts. I’ve pretty much locked everything in. I’ve prepared, practiced. My swing’s my swing. … It’s hard to just out-try the other team like maybe you could do in football or something like that.”
After Pirates closer Richard Rodriguez (3-1) walked Ryan McMahon with one out in the ninth, Blackmon hit an RBI double off the wall in center field to make it 3-all.
It was Rodriguez’ first blown save since Aug. 29, 2020.
“Our bullpen’s been outstanding,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “I think if we thought we were going to go through the whole year and we weren’t going to have a tough outing by our bullpen, we would be kidding ourselves.”
Blackmon scored the go-ahead run on a two-out single from Matt Adams.
Blackmon led off the eighth with a double before Kyle Crick walked in a run with two out. His triple in the fourth tied it at 1.
“His performance lifted the team,” manager Bud Black said. “This morning, I think Charlie took it upon himself, this is 8:30 in the morning, to get the guys going. He was here early. He was vocal. He was talkative. He had energy. You could see it from this morning.”
Daniel Bard (3-3) struck out three in the final two innings.
Pittsburgh took a 3-1 lead after Kyle Freeland walked the bases loaded in the fourth. Gregory Polanco scored on an infield single by Ka’ai Tom and Adam Frazier had an RBI grounder.
Pirates starter Chase De Jong allowed one run on three hits in five innings, striking out five in his season debut. The right-hander was called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, where he was 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA in four starts.
“Any time I get to take the mound on a major league mound is a privilege,” De Jong said. “To be back here is exactly that. I didn’t take it lightly. I really enjoyed being back out there with another team. I just consider myself very blessed to have this opportunity.”
Freeland lasted four innings for the Rockies, giving up three runs on five hits and four walks in his second start since sustaining a left shoulder strain in spring training.
“No matter what kind of bad skid we’re on, we’re still going to grind through every single at-bat and try to win a ballgame,” Freeland said. “Definitely a good win for us. We definitely needed it, especially with this rough road trip that we’ve been having.”
Frazier, the major league hits leader with 68, opened the scoring for the Pirates with a double in the third.
Rockies: LHP Lucas Gilbreath was returned to Triple-A Albuquerque after serving as the 27th man on the roster in the doubleheader Saturday.
Pirates: RHP JT Brubaker was placed on the bereavement List. A player on the list must miss at least three games.
Pirates: 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes is tracking well in is rehab stint with Indianapolis, general manager Ben Cherington said. The highly touted prospect has been out with left wrist discomfort since facing the Cubs on April 3, when he sustained the injury on a foul swing in his only at-bat of Pittsburgh’s second game this season.
Rockies: RHP German Márquez (3-5, 4.47) will take the mound Tuesday, when Colorado heads home to open a three-game series against the Texas Rangers.
Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (0-1, 6.32) is expected to return from a shoulder injury and start Monday in the first of two games against the Royals in Kansas City, Cherington said. His last start came April 18 against the Milwaukee Brewers.
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