DENVER (AP) — One thought raced through Joe Musgrove’s mind as he watched Kevin Newman launch the first pitch of the game into the seats.
“Hell yeah,” the Pittsburgh starter said.
The Pirates have been having a lot of those moments against Colorado this weekend as their offense has battered Rockies pitchers for three games.
Josh Bell hit his 35th homer, one of three on the night for Pittsburgh in an 11-4 rout of Colorado on Saturday night.
The Pirates had 17 hits and have now recorded at least 15 in each game of the series, tying the franchise record for a three-game span set in 1936.
Newman has nine of Pittsburgh’s 48 hits, including three homers, in 14 at-bats in the series, and this was his second leadoff shot. Jose Osuna also connected, and the Pirates won for the 14th time in 18 games at Coors Field. Pittsburgh will try for a four-game sweep Sunday.
“It’s not like they’re taking hitting pills and show up. They’ve been working to be better,” manager Clint Hurdle said of his team. “It’s a combination of them getting pitches to hit and not missing them, and (the Rockies’) rotation is not the rotation they started the year with. They’re trying to do the best they can with what they got.”
Ryan McMahon and Daniel Murphy homered for the Rockies, who have lost five in a row and 11 of 13. A loss Sunday would be the second time in a week Colorado has been swept in a four-game series.
Colorado finished 9-19 in August during which the pitching staff posted a 6.36 ERA, the worst in franchise history for the month. Pitchers also tied a team record by allowing 56 home runs in August.
The Rockies are 19-44 since June 20th and have the second-worst record in the NL.
“I don’t this period is going to effect this team,” manager Bud Black said. “You saw the last out of the game. You saw one of our best players (Trevor Story) get down the line. Ran his ass off.”
Not even the feel-good story of Tim Melville could help the Rockies on Saturday. In his first two starts since being recalled Aug. 21, the 29-year-old journeyman was 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA. After two innings and five runs – four earned – Saturday, his ERA was 3.21.
“A lot of stuff stayed up today and I had to make changes quicker,” Melville said. “I wasn’t able to make changes and at this level you are exposed pretty easily.”
Newman connected off Melville (1-1) during a two-run first. The Pirates added three more in the second, two on a double by Bryan Reynolds.
Reynolds had three hits and a front-row seat for Newman’s 426-foot blast leading off the game.
“I’m on deck just starting to get loose and he hits a homer and I’m like, ‘OK, here we go,'” Reynolds said. “He’s been doing it all year but it’s safe to say he likes playing here. Every time he’s up there he’s getting a hit, hitting it over the fence.”
McMahon hit is 19th in the second and Colorado added another in the third, but Bell and Osuna had solo homers in the fourth off Wes Parsons to make it 7-2. Bell’s 35 homers are a franchise record for a switch-hitter.
Musgrove (9-12) went six innings to get his first win in six starts thanks to another big lead early.
“I can’t say enough about our offense,” he said.
Pirates: OF Gregory Polanco (left shoulder) was transferred from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list.
The Pirates claimed LHP Wei-Chung Wang off waivers from Oakland. Wang was 1-0 with a 3.33 ERA in 20 relief appearances with the Athletics. He is expected to join the team Tuesday.
Pittsburgh LHP Steven Brault (3-3, 4.06) will make his second career start against the Colorado. The Rockies have not announced a starter for Sunday.