This is the game was more or less what I expected the first two games of the series to be like; runs for both teams, with the Pirates taking advantage of altitude and the terrible Rockies’ bullpen to pull out a win.
Of course, the Pirates needed to do both things to escape Denver with even one win in this series, but sometimes all you can do is salvage a win, and hop on an airplane to try and gather yourself before the next series. The Pirates took a 2-0 lead in the second when Josh Harrison and Gregory Polanco both singled with the bases loaded, but failed to break things further open when Andrew McCutchen struck out to end the inning. Edinson Volquez gave one run right back and certainly did not have his best stuff, with four walks in his 4 1/3 innings, but he also fell victim to Pedro Alvarez’s throwing yips in the fourth inning, where yet another air-mailed throw helped create a two-run Brandon Barnes home run (instead of a solo shot) and also indirectly lead to a fourth Rockie run by extending the inning.
The Pirates chased Franklin Morales, though, and got by on a game-tying two-run Travis Snider home run in the sixth and two bits of Josh Harrison Josh Harrisonism. After Snider’s homer, Harrison singled, stole second, overslid the base, avoided the tag at second, got in a run-down, ducked a tag from Willin Rosario in no-man’s land between second and third, and ended up safely at third base with two stolen bases on the same play. It looked like he was going to end up stranded there when Polanco and Andrew McCutchen struck out, but Ike Davis doubled him home.
That wasn’t quite enough, because Tony Watson served up a game-tying homer to Nolan Arenado in the seventh (I don’t mean to alarm you, but Watson has given up home runs in two outings in a row and three of his last six). Harrison quickly rectified that with a home run on the first pitch in the top of the eighth, and four pitches later Gregory Polanco clubbed a homer of his own for the final cherry on top. Watson pitched a second inning in the bottom of the eighth and Melancon had an easy ninth for the save.
The Pirates didn’t play well and they certainly didn’t pitch well in Colorado, but they escaped with a win and without a ton of damage being done in the division race with the Brewers dropping two of three to the Mets. There are seven games left on this road trip, so there’s still time to salvage it.