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May 5, 2024 2:00 am

Losing streak over, Pirates hunting more offense vs. Rockies

Jack Suwinski

The Pittsburgh Pirates have one fewer funk to shed entering Sunday’s game against the visiting Colorado Rockies in the rubber match of the teams’ three-game set.

Pittsburgh’s offense remains mired in a prolonged slump, but the Pirates snapped their five-game losing streak with a 1-0 walk-off win over Colorado on Saturday.

“We’ve been fighting, we’ve been working really hard, so to get that, it’s great,” said Pittsburgh outfielder Jack Suwinski, who delivered the game-winning, pinch-hit RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning.

Suwinski’s swing lifted the Pirates to just their fourth win over their past 18 games after Pittsburgh began the year 11-5.

The Pirates’ bats have been futile amid the club’s 4-14 swoon. Pittsburgh has averaged 1.89 runs and hasn’t scored more than five runs in a game during that span.

Those numbers hardly mattered on Saturday, though.

Pirates starter Jared Jones steamrolled through seven shutout innings and matched his career high with 10 strikeouts as he and two relievers combined to retire 27 of 28 Rockies hitters.

“I always feel like with him, if we don’t go seven innings or more, it’s just not a good outing,” Pittsburgh catcher Yasmani Grandal said of Jones. “He executed as good as you can possibly execute.”

Grandal went 1-for-4 on Saturday in his season debut after being activated from the 10-day injured list on Friday. The 35-year-old had been playing at Triple-A Indianapolis while rehabbing from plantar fasciitis.

Left-hander Bailey Falter (2-2, 4.22 ERA) will look to build on the Pirates’ sparkling pitching performance when he takes the mound on Sunday.

Falter closed April with his worst outing of the month when he was tagged for five runs over five innings in Pittsburgh’s 5-1 loss on Monday in Oakland. He had allowed four total runs over his first four April starts.

The fourth-year pitcher is 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA across three career relief appearances against the Rockies, all coming with the Philadelphia Phillies. He has surrendered a home run in each of his past three outings.

Falter faces a Colorado squad that squandered a chance on Saturday to post consecutive wins for the first time this season. The Rockies won Friday’s series opener 3-2 to snap a five-game skid.

Elias Diaz was Colorado’s lone baserunner in Saturday’s loss, which dropped the Rockies to a National League-worst 8-25.

Ryan Feltner (1-2, 5.13 ERA) will start for Colorado on Sunday.

The right-hander pitched a career-high eight-plus innings in his start on Tuesday at Miami but fizzled in the final frame.

After limiting the Marlins to three hits over eight shutout innings, Feltner allowed two hits and plunked a batter to begin the ninth before he was pulled. Feltner’s late struggles catalyzed the Rockies’ ninth-inning meltdown as Miami scored five runs to tie the score at 5-5 before winning 7-6 in 10 innings.

“It will take a while for me to think about my performance,” said Feltner, who was charged with three of the Marlins’ ninth-inning runs and received a no-decision.

“I just think right now that I let the team down. I’ve got to finish off that ninth inning. I’ve never been in that position before, and now I’m hungry to get back there.”

Feltner will face the Pirates for the second time in his career. He didn’t factor into the decision after surrendering two runs over five innings in his lone start against Pittsburgh in 2022.

–Field Level Media

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