The Pittsburgh Pirates (92-60) clinched their third straight postseason berth with a 13-7 victory over the Colorado Rockies (63-89). Pittsburgh native Neil Walker led the way for the Pirates as he delivered with a career-high six RBIs, including a three-run home run.
With the victory, Pittsburgh has clinched one of the two Wild Card spots but they are still vying for the division title as they are four games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central. The Pirates will have a prime opportunity to make a late division run as they face the Redbirds at home in a three-game series starting Monday.
Pittsburgh came out in the first inning strong as Neil Walker blooped a two-run single to left to score Josh Harrison and Starling Marte, giving the Pirates a 2-0 lead. Walker would further the lead in the third inning as he blasted a three-run home run to right field to extend the lead to 5-0. The Pirates offense wouldn’t stop, as Marte came up to the plate with two outs and the bases and drilled a two-run double to the left field gap. After four innings of play the Pirates would lead the Rockies 7-2, but as we know no lead is safe in the hitter-friendly park known as Coors Field.
Colorado would make a game of it as Corey Dickerson led off the fifth inning with a mammoth solo home run to right center field to make it a 7-3 ballgame. Carlos Gonzalez and Justin Morneau would follow with back-to-back singles, setting up catcher Tom Murphy for a three-run blast to left field, cutting the Pirates lead to 7-6.
The Rockies sent spot-starter Christian Bergman (3-1, 4.62 ERA) to the mound and he didn’t fare to well. In 3.2 innings of work, the right-hander allowed seven runs on 10 hits. Pirates’ starter Charlie Morton didn’t take care of business either, as he was given a huge lead and lasted only 4.1 innings where he allowed six runs on 10 hits, including two home runs.
Both offenses would be held at bay, until the ninth inning when Pittsburgh busted out and sealed the victory. With the bases loaded, defensive replacement Sean Rodriguez stepped to the plate and cleared the bases with a three-run double to give Pittsburgh a commanding 10-6 lead. The offensive barrage continued as Gregory Polanco connected for an RBI double and Josh Harrison followed with an RBI single to center. Neil Walker put the final nail in the coffin as he collected his sixth RBI of the night with a single to left, giving the Pirates a 13-6 lead.
Corey Dickerson collected his third hit of the evening in the bottom of the ninth with an RBI double to deep right. The rally fell short as the Rockies would lose to Pittsburgh by the final score of 13-7.
Six of the eight everyday players for Pittsburgh recorded multi-hit games, including a four-hit performance by second baseman Neil Walker. Josh Harrison finished the game 3-for-6 with three runs scored and an RBI, while Starling Marte went 3-for-6 with two runs scored and two RBIs.
This will be the third straight season the Pirates have reached postseason play, two of which in the form of a Wild Card spot. If the season ended today that would make it three, but Pittsburgh is mathematically still in the running for an NL Central divisional crown.