After scoring just three runs in the first two games of their series with the Colorado Rockies, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ offense broke out in a big way on Thursday, setting new season highs for runs scored and margin of victory in a 14-6 win.
The offensive explosion was needed after the Rockies came back from an 8-0 deficit with a six-run sixth to make things interesting. But Josh Bell, Bryan Reynolds and Starling Marte all homered in the seventh to lead the Pirates to victory.
Bell continued his torrid May by leading off the seventh with a solo home run, his 16th of the season and 10th of the month. He finished with three hits, including a double, a walk and two RBIs and is slugging .718, third-best in the majors.
“I’ve seen some pretty special things,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Bell’s hot stretch. “This would be right in that category. . It’s been fantastically fun to watch.”
Reynolds followed Bell’s shot with a three-run homer to right-center field, his first career pinch-hit homer. Marte then hit a two-run shot to left, with all three homers coming against Colorado reliever Carlos Estévez.
?”It was a good day to hit. Everybody up and down was crushing the ball,” Reynolds said. “To bounce back and put some runs back on them and get a little cushion, it’s big.”
The Pirates got out of the gate hot, scoring four runs in the first. Gregory Polanco hit a two-run home run, Melky Cabrera hit a run-scoring double and Colin Moran drove him in with a single.
In the third, Moran hit another RBI single and after Kevin Newman worked a 10-pitch walk to load the bases, Lyles helped his own cause with a ground ball down the first-base line that scored two more runs and made it 7-0.
Rockies starter Antonio Senzatela (3-4) allowed eight runs over 3 1/3 innings and struck out two.
“He just couldn’t seem to get any momentum going as far as stringing pitches together,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “It was a tough day.”
With two outs in the sixth, seven straight Rockies reached base against Lyles and reliever Geoff Hartlieb. Brendan Rodgers had a two-run single that chased Lyles and pinch-hitter Daniel Murphy drove in two more to draw the Rockies to within two.
“I think that’s the good thing about our team,” Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado said. “We’re pretty resilient. We’re always going to fight. Try to have good quality at bats up there. We never gave up.”
Lyles had worked a two-hitter through five before the Rockies’ big sixth inning. He finished with seven strikeouts.
“They made me have a sour taste in the sixth inning to end my outing,” Lyles said. “Pretty free and easy going one through five, but I wasn’t able to close the door.”
With the Pirates clinging to a two-run lead in the seventh, Trevor Story and David Dahl started the inning with singles off reliever Kyle Crick, bringing up Arenado with no outs.
Crick induced a ground ball that came right back to the mound and pivoted to second to start a 1-4-3 double play. He then struck out Raimel Tapia to strand Story.
“I was just trying to get him to hit in on the ground,” Crick said. “Nolan is not the fastest guy. I knew if I could get (Adam) Frazier a good throw, he could turn it.”
Rockies: RF Charlie Blackmon was removed from the game in fourth inning with a right calf injury.
Pirates: C Francisco Cervelli (chest contusion) missed his second consecutive game after being hit with a foul tip on Tuesday.
Rockies: Colorado is expected to recall RHP Jeff Hoffman (0-1, 7.20 ERA) from Triple-A Albuquerque to start a three-game series at home against Baltimore.
Pirates: Pittsburgh has not announced a starter for Friday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.