Well, that was nice. Unexpected, but nice. In the best Colorado pitching performance since Jason Jennings' complete game in April, Joe Kennedy was a changed man. For 8 1/3, throwing an efficient 109 pitches, Kennedy reminded Pittsburgh that they were the Pirates, and struck out six, allowed five hits, and only two walks. Remarkable. But where did it come from?
The Rockies' offense was its usual dyspeptic road self. Clint Barmes' recent struggles continued with an 0 for 5. Matt Holliday and Brad Hawpe, batting fourth and fifth, had two hits apiece. Cory Sullivan reached on a fielder's choice and stole a base. Todd Helton had two walks as pitchers continued to work around him to reach the Rockies' lifeless #4 spot (29th in the league with an ominous .666 OPS). Today Holliday had two hits in batting cleanup but no RBI.
Brian Fuentes came on to finish for Kennedy, earning a save despite allowing a hit and a walk. J.D. Closser, who's been scuffling badly, raised his average with a 1 for 3 and a walk. For the Pirates, Josh Fogg was very shaky, walking 5, allowing 5 hits, and throwing 94 pitches in only five innings. The Rockies continued to show a weakness when it comes to scoring against middle relief, managing only two hits and no runs against the combination of John Grabow, Salomon Torres, and Ryan Vogelsong.
This win keyed entirely on one starting pitcher besting the other, and the Rockies owe a lot to Joe Kennedy for stepping up his game and preventing a sweep in PNC Park. On to Milwaukee!