Rockies lose 13-7 as Pirates clinch playoff spot
DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Rockies finally made a mark on the playoff race. Just not the way they wanted.
Colorado couldn’t prevent the Pittsburgh Pirates from clinching their third straight postseason berth Wednesday night. Reliever-turned-substitute starter Christian Bergman was roughed up, and a comeback bid ended in all-too-familiar fashion during a 13-7 loss.
“Wish we were in that spot,” Bergman said.
Not even close, though. The Pirates secured at least a wild card as they chase first-place St. Louis in the NL Central.
The Rockies? They’re in last place in the NL West and trying to avoid the worst season in club history.
“Really, you just want to experience (clinching a postseason spot) for yourself,” Corey Dickerson said. “You really want it to be here and for your fans. What it would feel like here, what it would be like packed out every night. That would be awesome.”
Neil Walker feasted on Rockies pitching as he drove in a career-high six runs. He had a soft, two-run single in the first and a towering three-run homer in the third off Bergman (3-1). Walker ended his night with an RBI single as part of a six-run ninth to break open a tight game.
Charlie Morton allowed the Rockies to climb within a run after being staked to a 7-1 lead. Joe Blanton (4-0) tossed 1 2-3 scoreless innings.
Starling Marte had three hits, including a two-run double. He didn’t have the game-winning hit, though, noteworthy because he’s delivered it the previous two seasons when the Pirates locked up a playoff spot.
Just when the Pirates appeared on their way to a rout, things got interesting in the fifth after Morton allowed a solo homer to Dickerson and a three-run shot to Tom Murphy, making it 7-6.
Blanton and the bullpen kept the Rockies at bay. Sean Rodriguez hit a three-run double to spark the big ninth.
Bergman never found a groove during his second start of the season. He allowed seven runs and 10 hits in 3 2-3 innings.
“It’s always frustrating to have a day like this no matter what role it is, whether it’s starting or relieving,” Bergman said.
Rookie right-hander Jon Gray will have to wait until next season for another chance at his first major league win. Rockies manager Walt Weiss said the hard-throwing Gray reached his innings limit. Gray finished 0-2 with a 5.53 ERA in 40 2-3 innings for Colorado. At Triple-A Albuquerque, he was 6-6 with a 4.33 ERA in 114 1-3 innings. “He’ll still work on mechanics over the last couple weeks,” Weiss explained. “He should be built up and ready to go for a full season next year.”
Pirates: 3B Aramis Ramirez sat out after tweaking his groin the night before while legging out a triple. He said he felt it grab on his way from second to third.
Rockies: OF Charlie Blackmon was a late scratch with a stiff neck. ... OF Brandon Barnes left the game with a mild left hamstring strain. ... 3B Nolan Arenado was given the night off after hitting his head while diving for a ball Tuesday. He thinks he will be back in the lineup Thursday. ... Weiss said LHP Jorge De La Rosa won’t pitch again this season due to right Achilles tendinitis.
Pirates: LHP Jeff Locke (8-11, 4.48 ERA) will tie a career high with his 30th start of the season Thursday.
Rockies: RHP Chad Bettis (8-5, 4.46) is 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA in his last two starts — wins over Seattle and San Diego.