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Stewart's grand slam powers Rockies over Pirates

• Unsung heroes: Matt Holliday, Troy Tulowitzki and Brad Hawpe also homered for the Rockies.

• Goat: Tony Armas gave up seven runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings, walking three and striking out four.

• Figure this: Stewart, who was called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Aug. 11, is the third rookie this year to hit a grand slam for his first major league homer.

-- ESPN.com news services

Rockies 9, Pirates 2

DENVER (AP) -- Ian Stewart was hoping he'd at least drive in a
run when he came to bat with the bases loaded.

Maybe he was being a bit cautious with his expectations.

Stewart hit a third-inning grand slam in his ninth career at-bat
-- one of four Colorado home runs -- and the Rockies overpowered the
Pittsburgh Pirates 9-2 on Tuesday night.

"I knew I hit it well, but I didn't know I hit it that well,"
Stewart said. "I was hoping it would go over his head, or
worst-case scenario he catches it and we get a run home."

Matt Holliday, Troy Tulowitzki and Brad Hawpe also homered for
the Rockies, who closed to within 2½ games of NL wild-card leaders
San Diego and Philadelphia.

Closing the gap in the playoff chase was more important to
Stewart than his home run.

"We needed this," he said. "We've had a couple of tough games
the past couple of days, and this is big. If we can put together a
streak, win four or five in a row, we might be close to the top of
the wild card."

Tony Armas (2-4) retired the first six batters he faced before
Yorvit Torrealba and Jamey Carroll led off the third with singles.
After pitcher Elmer Dessens put down a successful sacrifice bunt,
Ryan Spilborghs walked and Stewart drove a 2-1 pitch to left to
make it 4-1.

"He stayed with it," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.

The Rockies have hit seven grand slams this season, extending
the club record for a single season.

Stewart, who was called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs on
Aug. 11, is the third rookie this year to hit a grand slam for his
first major league homer. Houston's Hunter Pence did it May 5 at
St. Louis, and Danny Richar of the Chicago White Sox did it Friday
at Toronto.

"I gave him a pretty good pitch, a curveball away, and he hit
it out of the ballpark. You can't do much about that," Armas said.
"Lance Berkman got me like that in a game with Houston. That's the
second time a guy hit a good pitch out."

The Rockies loaded the bases again in the third, but Armas got
out of the jam without allowing a run. He gave up seven runs and
eight hits in 4 1/3 innings, walking three and striking out four.

The Rockies scored three times in the fifth on Holliday's solo
homer and Torrealba's bases-loaded single, which scored Todd Helton
and Tulowitzki and chased Armas from the game.

"Tony was good for the first couple of innings," Pirates
manager Jim Tracy said. "We got the home run and Tony started to
lose the strike zone a little and ran himself into some deep
counts."

Taylor Buchholz (6-4) got the win in relief of Dessens. Buchholz
came on with two on and two out in the fifth and got Jason Bay to
pop out to third. He retired the first nine batters he faced and 10
of 11 in the game.

"He's been good," Hurdle said. "He's feeling good and he's
pitching with confidence."

Tulowitzki, who homered and tied his career high with four hits
on Monday night, hit his 17th of the year off Shane Youman in the seventh. Hawpe followed with his 22nd, making it 9-2.

The Pirates scored on Nate McLouth's eighth home run of the year
to lead off the third. He scored again on a groundout in the
fifth.

Game notes
The four homers were a season-high for Colorado. ...
McLouth has hit safely in 17 of his last 19 games. ... Stewart is
the second player in Colorado history to hit a grand slam for his
first homer. Jim Tatum accomplished the feat at Wrigley Field in
Chicago on May 4, 1993.