Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) – James McDonald twirled six shutout innings to help the Pittsburgh Pirates take a 5-1 win over the Colorado Rockies in the opener of a four-game set.
McDonald (1-1) gave up just four hits and a walk with a season-high eight strikeouts for his first win of the season for the Pirates, who had dropped six of seven coming into the game. Ronny Cedeno clubbed a two-run home run while Garret Jones added a solo shot in the win.
Troy Tulowitzki went 3-for-4 with an RBI while Jeff Francis (4-4) was touched for five runs on nine hits with five strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings for the Rockies, who had won five of six coming into the contest.
Jones led off the second inning by crushing a slider that was left over the plate for his 15th home run of the season. Lastings Milledge later singled and, after Chris Snyder struck out, Cedeno belted a pitch that just stayed fair in left for a 3-0 lead.
The Pirates made it a 4-0 game in the third as Andrew McCutchen led off with a double and later came home on a Neil Walker single.
McDonald, meanwhile, was having little trouble with the Colorado offense. Through the first six innings he retired the side three times and allowed just one runner to reach second base, Ian Stewart in the third inning.
Pittsburgh got another run in the sixth as Walker started the frame with a double and came home two batters later on Pedro Alvarez’s single to center.
Wilfredo Ledezma took over for McDonald in the seventh. He put men on first and second with two outs, but he got Stewart to ground out to end the threat.
Sean Gallagher came on for the eight, but gave up walks to Dexter Fowler and Clint Barmes. Justin Thomas entered the game and got Carlos Gonzalez to pop out to short for the second out of the inning, but Tulowitzki punched a single to left to score Fowler and make it a 5-1 game.
Chris Resop then set the Rockies down in order in the ninth to close out the win.
Pittsburgh has taken three of four from Colorado this season…Francis had gone his previous five starts without a loss, going 2-0 since a loss at San Diego on June 30. He fell to 3-3 over six starts against the Pirates in his career…McDonald improved to 3-1 in six appearances (three starts) against the Pirates…Jason Hammel takes the mound for Colorado on Friday and will be opposed by Zach Duke for Pittsburgh.