Brault helps Pirates sweep Colorado
The Associated Press
DENVER — Steven Brault came into the dugout after his first big league home run ready to celebrate with his teammates. Instead, they greeted him in jest with silence.
It was only fitting after he quieted the Colorado Rockies’ bats for most of the afternoon.
Brault hit a towering shot into the second deck and pitched effectively into the seventh inning to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates over the Rockies 6-2 on Sunday for a four-game sweep.
Adam Frazier homered on the first pitch of the game, the second straight day the Pirates did that. Kevin Newman connected against Tim Melville on Saturday night, and Newman also led off Thursday’s game with a home run. It was the third time in major league history a team hit three leadoff homers in a four-game series.
Pittsburgh had 63 hits and 37 runs at Coors Field over the weekend.
“They have a number of guys swinging the bat well,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “They’re a hot club. That might be a product of our pitching the past few games.”
Brault, who pitched three years at Regis University in Denver, socked a 441-foot solo homer that made it 3-1 in the seventh. He rounded the bases trying unsuccessfully to suppress a smile and was met with indifference when he got to the dugout.
“That’s the longest silent treatment I’ve ever seen and everybody got mad at Trevor (Williams) for breaking it so early,” Brault said. “It’s cool to get the silent treatment, that’s a cool feeling.”
Brault (4-3) allowed only one hit until Nolan Arenado lined a two-out fastball into the seats in left field in the sixth for his 35th home run. Brault left in the seventh when the Rockies got a run on two hits and an error, but Richard Rodriguez got out of the jam by fanning Trevor Story.
Brault allowed just one earned run and four hits in 61/3 innings.
“He Little Leagued them,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “Pitched them on the mound and hit a home run.”
Josh Bell and Colin Moran each hit an RBI single for the Pirates. Bryan Reynolds had three hits.
Pittsburgh could have scored more runs but Colorado cut down three baserunners in the first six innings. Reynolds was thrown out at home trying to score from first base on a double in the third, Starling Marte was picked off in the fifth when he broke for second too early, and Erik Gonzalez was thrown out trying to stretch a single in the sixth.
That helped limit the damage for Jeff Hoffman (1-5), who was recalled from the minors before game. Hoffman lasted just two innings in his previous start for the Rockies but held Pittsburgh to two runs and nine hits over five innings Sunday.
It wasn’t enough to prevent last-place Colorado from losing its sixth in a row.
“He missed his spot first pitch of the game but he showed a very solid curveball at times, changeups that worked,” Black said.
Pirates: Activated RHP Clay Holmes from the 10-day injured list.
Brault didn’t throw a breaking ball until the seventh, relying on a sinker and a mix of fastballs to keep Colorado off balance.
“We like to go out and throw fastballs until they tell us that we can’t,” Brault said. “That’s how it was today and (catcher Elias) Diaz was on the same page.”
Hurdle said the first breaking ball came on the 70th pitch and Brault only threw six in 82 pitches.
“He had a Plan B if he needed to go to it; he didn’t need to go to it,” Hurdle said. “There’s not that many cats that can go pitch that long with one pitch in the major leagues and not get beat up.”
Here they come
The Rockies brought up three players from Triple-A Albuquerque. In addition to Hoffman, Colorado added left-handed reliever James Pazos and infielder Pat Valaika, who started at second base and had a single in four at-bats. Pazos struck out the only batter he faced.
The Pirates are expected to add to their roster before playing at home Tuesday.
Pirates: RHP Mitch Keller (1-3, 8.62 ERA) opens a six-game homestand Tuesday against Miami. Keller will be making his eighth major league start.