DENVER -- Jason Hammel did not let himself dwell on giving up a homer to the first batter he faced, and his approach worked out just fine.
Hammel recovered to pitch six scoreless innings and Chris Iannetta backed him with a three-run homer Saturday night in the Colorado Rockies' 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.He allowed six hits, including Andrew McCutchen's eighth career homer to start a game."I was like, 'Well, no shutout tonight, I guess,'" Hammel said with a smile. "It was a 2-1 fastball down the middle. He's a big-league hitter and he did what he was supposed to do. I just focused on making my next pitch."And the next one and the one after that, keeping the Pirates in check through the rest of his season-long seven-inning outing. Hammel (3-1) struck out four and walked two and also benefited from three double plays."He pitched well but he gave us pitches to hit," McCutchen said. "Throughout the game, we were hitting the ball hard. That's why, they were able to get those double plays, because we were hitting the ball so hard up the middle or to first base. We were just missing the ball a little bit."Rafael Betancourt pitched a scoreless eighth and Huston Street got the final three outs for his NL-leading 10th save in 10 chances.Bouncing back a day after their first shutout loss to Pittsburgh in 65 games between the teams at Coors Field, the Rockies went in front with a four-run second inning, fueled by some of their slumping hitters.Carlos Gonzalez, dropped down before the game from third to fifth in the batting order, doubled off the left-field wall to start the burst. Jose Lopez and Seth Smith had successive infield singles, tying it at 1. Iannetta, who entered the game batting .173, followed with a drive off Paul Maholm that cleared the center-field fence.The win was the Rockies' 17th in April, tying the 1997 Colorado team for most wins in the month, which was accomplished under former manager Clint Hurdle, now skipper of the Pirates.Todd Helton, who had a double and started two of the double plays with sparkling defensive plays at first base, said he was encouraged by the strong start, which has come in spite of some offensive struggles."It's a great sign," he said. "Guys are going to get hot. The [cold] weather has been an issue. Obviously, we've struggled with that. Once it warms up, hopefully the bats will warm up, too."Maholm (1-4) allowed four runs on seven hits in seven innings but continued to be plagued by a lack of run support. The Pirates have scored one run or less while he has been on the mound in all of his losses this season. Maholm fanned three and walked three and dropped to 1-6 with a 7.12 ERA in seven career starts at Coors Field.Pittsburgh lost left fielder Jose Tabata to a right hamstring injury in the first inning. He hit a groundball to shortstop and as he ran down the line, he appeared to begin favoring his right leg, limping slightly as he made his way back to the dugout. He was replaced by Matt Diaz.
Prior to the game, the Pirates placed RHP Evan Meek (right shoulder tendinitis) on the 15-day disabled list and recalled LHP Daniel Moskos from their Triple-A affiliate in Indianapolis. Moskos came on to pitch a hitless eighth inning in his major league debut. ... RHP Aaron Cook, on the 60-day disabled list with a broken right ring finger, threw batting practice at the Rockies' complex in Scottsdale, Ariz., and is scheduled to have a light bullpen session on Monday. ... Todd Helton's first-inning double for the Rockies increased his career total to 533, one shy of tying Lou Gehrig for 30th on the all-time list. ... Of Iannetta's 10 hits this season, seven have gone for extra bases, including three home runs. ... McCutchen's eight leadoff homers rank third on the Pirates' all-time list behind Barry Bonds (20) and Al Martin (10).