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Wigginton win’s it with three-run double

Submitted by Sports on April 10, 2011 – 10:41 amNo Comment

PITTSBURGH — This time, the Rockies’ Ty Wigginton hit the ball too hard for Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez.

Wigginton’s eighth-inning double cleared the loaded bases to lift the Rockies over the Pirates, 6-4, at PNC Park on Saturday night.

Wigginton’s double, off Jose Veras (0-1), came the night after Alvarez made a diving play to rob Wigginton on a similar smash down the third-base line with the bases loaded and two out in the ninth. The Pirates eventually won that game, 4-3, in 14 innings.

“When I hit it tonight and I saw him diving, my initial thought was, ‘Oh, no!’” Wigginton said. “I was glad to see it get by.”

The Rockies accomplished more than simply putting themselves in position to take the four-game series if they win Sunday afternoon. It was an immediate answer to the disappointment of Friday night. Last season, one rough game on the road would snowball into another. The result was a 31-50 road record.

Then again, Rockies entered this season with full confidence they would be better. In their eyes, it was less a statement game than simply the way they expect the season to go. But right-handed starter Greg Reynolds shouted that he’s ready to contribute.

The team’s top pick in the 2006 MLB First-Year Player Draft, Reynolds made the Majors by 2008, but was derailed by injuries and inconsistency. Saturday night was his first start since Sept. 21, 2008, when the D-backs hammered him for seven hits and six runs in 1 1/3 innings of a 13-4 loss at Coors Field.

The Rockies called up Reynolds before Colorado Springs’ Triple-A season began because of ace Ubaldo Jimenez’s right thumb injury. After Friday night, the Rockies had just four relievers available. It would have been three, had it not been righty Matt Belisle (1-0), who ended up the winning pitcher, convincingly insisting he could go again after throwing 32 pitches on Friday night.

Reynolds made the most of his chance by holding the Pirates to two runs, on Ryan Doumit’s two-run shot in the second inning, and three hits in six innings.

“I’ve had to fight my butt off for a couple of years to get back to this point,” Reynolds said. “This one means a lot more than the first time. I had to work harder to get back to this point. I really want to cash in on that.”

Reynolds lost out in the fifth-starter competition to Esmil Rogers, who won Thursday afternoon’s series opener against the Pirates, because of difficulty beyond the first time through the batting order. Saturday’s results were better late than early.

“His confidence and his tempo and his pitch-making improved as he went along,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “He started to get some breaking balls over the plate as he got toward the third inning, fourth inning, fifth inning.”

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle noted his team had a chance to hurt Reynolds after drawing two walks with one out in the third, but Reynolds worked out of it. Hurdle was the Rockies’ manager during Reynolds’ first tour with the club.

“He’s a good young man,” Hurdle said. “He was a hard trier when I had him, and success wasn’t really on his side, so you tip your hat to him for hanging in there and being persistent and fighting back.”

Seth Smith’s solo shot, his first homer of the season, came off Pirates starter Charlie Morton in the sixth for a 3-2 Rockies lead.

Morton missed the plate with 11 of his first 14 pitches, but the Rockies let him off the hook when Carlos Gonzalez grounded into a double play on a 3-0 pitch. A run scored, but that was all the Rockies managed in the first inning. Morton displayed movement to both sides of the plate while holding the Rockies to three runs, two earned, on five hits.

“He’s got really good stuff,” Smith said. “For some reason, the Pirates, when we play here, we can’t get them to quit, which is good for them, I guess. But I knew we needed to do something.”

Good defense kept another run off the scoreboard in the fifth. Gonzalez singled with two out and two on, but Pirates right fielder Garrett Jones threw out Jose Morales at the plate.

Reynolds’ chance at a victory disappeared when Doumit doubled off Rockies reliever Matt Reynolds, and Matt Diaz singled Doumit home against Belisle in the seventh. Rafael Betancourt gave up Jose Tabata’s second homer in as many games, a leadoff shot in the eighth, but eventually forced an Alvarez popup to end the inning.

In the eighth, Veras walked Jonathan Herrera, who walked three times and singled in five plate appearances, and yielded a single to Gonzalez, who went 3-for-4 with an RBI after going 0-for-7 in Friday night’s game. Veras struck out Troy Tulowitzki, who went 0-for-4 for the second straight game after homering in the previous three, and Smith. But Veras hit Jose Lopez with a pitch to set up Wigginton’s double.

Matt Lindstrom shook off soft singles by Diaz and Jason Jaramillo with one out in the ninth, and worked Steve Pierce into a double-play grounder to complete his first save for the Rockies, who acquired him from the Astros during the offseason. Regular closer Huston Street was unavailable after throwing 27 pitches in three innings on Friday night.

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