Locke struggles as Pirates fall 11-5 to Rockies
DENVER (AP) Jeff Locke is going to let this clunker roll right off him.
In a good groove lately, the Pittsburgh Pirates left-hander refuses to read too much into a start in which he surrendered a career-high 11 runs during an 11-5 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Thursday.
After all, this is Coors Field, where crooked pitching lines often happen.
''You just have to move on. Can't let it be a reflection of the way you've been throwing the ball, that's for sure,'' said Locke, who lasted 4 2-3 innings and allowed 11 hits. ''It's definitely a tough one to take; nobody wants to take it like that, but you have to move on. You've got to keep going.''
Locke (5-4) had his four-game winning streak halted and saw his ERA soar from 4.28 to 5.38.
This was a drastic change from the way Locke pitched at Coors Field on April 25. That day, he threw six scoreless innings and struck out eight.
''Today turned out to be somewhat of an outlier from what we've seen the four previous starts,'' Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. ''He wasn't able to get in a consistent rhythm with the execution of his pitches. There were a number of mistakes up in the zone that usually doesn't play well here.''
Locke took the brunt of Colorado's offensive explosion in part so the Pirates didn't wear out their bullpen with St. Louis coming to town over the weekend.
''He understands that,'' Hurdle said. ''I told him, `Just kick this one to the curb and we'll move on. Keep hunting the good and we'll move on together.'''
Former starter Jorge De La Rosa settled down a slugfest with four perfect innings out of the bullpen. De La Rosa (2-4) retired all 12 batters he faced after starter Chad Bettis struggled. De La Rosa also brought in a run with a bunt.
The game with the Pirates was a makeup of the April 28 contest that was postponed by weather.
DJ LeMahieu homered, doubled and drove in three runs, while Ryan Raburn, Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado each drove in two runs as Colorado snapped an eight-game skid to the Pirates at Coors Field.
The Rockies arrived in town from Los Angeles at 3:12 a.m. Thursday, but their bats never slumbered. The only position player not to have a hit was Mark Reynolds, who did drive in a run with a ground out in a four-run first that helped set the tone.
Pittsburgh interrupted a long homestand for the quick turn-around trip to Colorado. Down 6-1 in the third, the Pirates scored four times off Bettis. David Freese led the surge with a three-run homer.
The Pirates only had one baserunner after the third inning - a walk by Freese in the eighth.
That was due to Rockies relievers led by De La Rosa. The struggling lefty was moved to the bullpen on May 25 to hone his mechanics, but rediscovered his command by striking out five. He was helped out by Arenado, who made two phenomenal barehanded plays at third base.
''That's the most comfortable and consistent I've seen him on the mound,'' said Hurdle, who managed De La Rosa when he was the skipper in Colorado. ''He threw strikes with all of his pitches.''
Pirates: Due to a worn-out pitching staff, the Pirates optioned RHP Jameson Taillon to Triple-A Indianapolis and recalled LHP Kyle Lobstein, who threw 2 1-3 scoreless innings. ... OF Starling Marte (bruised left ankle) returned to the starting lineup Thursday. He had an RBI single in the first.
The Pirates donned Penguins jerseys for the plane ride in support of their city's sports brethren playing in the Stanley Cup final against San Jose.
Hurdle even had four tickets to Game 5 on Thursday night in Pittsburgh, but obviously couldn't use them. He gave the coveted seats to his sister.
''I've never witnessed a Stanley Cup playoff game,'' Hurdle said. ''I'm not taking it personally; I'm going to embrace my sister and brother-in-law's joy.''
Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole (5-4) remained in Pittsburgh to get ready for his start Friday against St. Louis. The Cardinals will throw RHP Michael Wacha (2-6).