Pittsburgh Pirates’ Pedro Alvarez slides into third on a sacrifice fly by Russell Martin in the ninth inning of the baseball game against the Colorado Rockies on Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, in Pittsburgh. The Rockies won 4-2. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
PITTSBURGH (AP) – The Colorado Rockies made the most of the hits they managed off Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole.
Cole allowed three runs on three hits over 5 1-3 innings and the Pirates had their lead in the NL Central trimmed to a half-game after a 4-2 loss to the Rockies on Friday night.
Cole (5-5) didn’t make it through the sixth despite throwing 102 pitches. He walked three and struck out six.
“I didn’t give them a whole lot to work with,” Cole said. “But they got enough, and that’s about all that matters.”
Cole dropped to 1-5 since winning his first four major league starts. The only baserunner he allowed over the first 3 1-3 innings was when Troy Tulowitzki led off the second with his 20th home run.
Cole was lifted after walking Dexter Fowler and allowing a one-out single to Corey Dickerson to open the sixth.
“He came out of the chute good – then at times it seemed that he couldn’t put away the hitters because all the foul balls extended innings,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “He ran a lot of deeper counts that extended his pitch count. He didn’t allow much damage to be done, though.”
Jhoulys Chacin (10-5) allowed one run on six hits over eight innings to win for the seventh time over his past nine decisions. He stayed in the game after a ball off the bat of Starling Marte deflected off his right forearm in the fifth inning.
“I didn’t want to come out; I just wanted to keep pitching,” said Chain, who lowered his road ERA to 1.78. “It hit me good, but just I moved my hand and it felt fine.
“I really wanted to give the team seven or eight innings at least, so I was trying to do my job and help my bullpen, also. It was nice I was able to do that.”
Neil Walker had two doubles for the Pirates (65-44), who came in with the best record in the majors.
Pittsburgh has been outscored 17-2 in losing its past two after taking over the best record in the NL with four straight wins over the St. Louis Cardinals this week.
The Pirates scored in the ninth with consecutive one-out doubles by Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez off temporary closer Rex Brothers. But Russell Martin flied out to deep center and pinch-hitter Gaby Sanchez lined out to right to end it, earning Brothers his eighth save in nine opportunities.
Coming off a series in which he went 0 for 10 and was ejected for arguing a called third strike Thursday, Tulowitzki also added an RBI single. Todd Helton had a two-run single 16 years to the day after making his major-league debut in the same city.
The Rockies were coming off being outscored 40-13 by Atlanta in a four-game sweep at Turner Field.
Chacin is 7-2 with a 2.24 ERA since June 11 – the same day as Cole’s debut.
Chacin retired the final 14 he faced – the last nine coming after a liner off the bat of Starling Marte deflected off his forearm to shortstop Tulowitzki, who threw to first to complete the putout.
Chacin grimaced and shook his arm, but appeared to tell catcher Wilin Rosario, manager Walt Weiss and a member of the training staff that he was fine. Chacin retreated from the dugout into the tunnel after the inning ended but returned for the bottom of the sixth following a lengthy wait because his team sent eight men to the plate and scored three runs in the top half.
“That thing hit him square, and I thought he might be done,” Weiss said. “And he goes out there and gives us three more innings. Really an impressive showing.
“This year, we gave him the responsibility of being a top-of-the-rotation guy, and he’s taken it and he’s run with it.”
Tulowitzki’s home run ended the Pirates’ streak of not allowing a homer at PNC Park over the previous seven games.
Tulowitzki’s other RBI came in the sixth when he chopped a ball high in the air between the pitching mound and first base with runners at first and third and one out. Garret Jones fielded it but had little chance to record an out, particularly with the speedy Dexter Fowler sprinting home.
After a Justin Wilson wild pitch, Helton followed by driving in Corey Dickerson and Tulowitzki with a single to left.
NOTES: Before the game, the Pirates swapped out a pair of relievers when they reinstated RHP Jared Hughes from the disabled list and optioned RHP Vic Black to Triple-A Indianapolis. … The paid attendance of 37,487 was the 10th sellout at PNC Park this season … This was the season’s first meeting between the teams; each has now played every NL team. … Helton went 2-for-4 with a home run while batting fifth and playing left field for the Rockies in his first game in the majors Aug. 2, 1997, at Three Rivers Stadium. … He’s 14 innings short of qualifying for the league leaders, but Saturday Pittsburgh starter LHP Francisco Liriano (11-4, 2.16) would rank second in the NL in ERA if he did. Rockies counterpart LHP Jorge De La Rosa (10-5, 3.21) allowed a season-high five runs in his most recent outing for Colorado.