Shaky Cole, good defense lead Pirates over Rockies 2-1

PITTSBURGH -- Gerrit Cole didn't have to give a detailed explanation about why he was the winning pitcher.

"Defense," the Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander said. "Stellar defense all over the diamond."

Starling Marte and John Jaso had two hits each and made fine defensive plays to help Cole navigate through seven shaky innings as the Pirates beat the Colorado Rockies 2-1 on Friday night.

Cole (5-3) scattered 10 hits and a walk while not recording a strikeout as he won his second straight start. He allowed only one run after pitching eight scoreless innings last Sunday to beat the Cubs at Chicago.

Cole had failed to get past the sixth inning in his first six starts.

"Well, nobody can say he can't win a game without striking out a lot of guys," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He found a different way to win and that's a good learning experience for him."

David Freese snapped a 1-1 tie with a two-out single in the sixth inning to give the Pirates their fifth win in six games and eighth straight victory over the Rockies.

Marte preserved the 2-1 lead in the seventh by throwing out Dustin Garneau at home to end the inning as he tried to score from second base on Charlie Blackmon's single to left.

It was Marte's sixth outfield assist, tying for the National League lead with San Diego's Matt Kemp. He led the NL with 16 last season.

"It's always fun to throw someone out, especially in a big situation," Marte said. "I just try to throw it hard, not do too much, and hit the target."

Garneau said he knew he was taking a risk by running on Marte.

"We all know that these guys can throw in the outfield and Marte's got a special arm so I tried to get as far as I could of a lead at second base and get a good read," Garneau said. "The ball one-hopped him and he's got a freaking cannon. So, besides plowing (catcher Francisco) Cervelli, I really had no shot."

Mark Melancon worked around two singles in a scoreless ninth for his 14th save in 15 opportunities.

Jaso, playing first base, twice robbed DJ LeMahieu of potential extra-base hits by snaring line drives and started an inning-ending double play after catching one in the second.

"The first one was pretty much reflexes but it prepared me to be ready when it happened again," Jaso said.

Jaso grabbed Gerardo Parra's one-out slow roller in the fourth inning and threw home for the forceout. Cole then ended the inning by getting LeMahieu to ground out.

Jaso led off the first inning and scored the game's first run on Gregory Polanco's groundout. Jaso is 9 for 18 in the first five games of a 10-game homestand.

Nolan Arenado hit his 14th home run in the sixth inning and was one of three Rockies with three hits along with Blackmon and Mark Reynolds. Colorado lost its third straight game, stranding nine baserunners.

Eddie Butler (2-2) allowed two runs -- one earned -- and seven hits in six innings with no walks and one strikeout.

"He did a nice job," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said of Butler. "He got in trouble a little bit and minimized the damage. He worked out of some jams. He made some big pitches in key times and certainly did his part."


Rockies: LF Carlos Gonzalez went 0 for 3 and is hitless in his last 15 at-bats and is on a 2-for-31 slide. ... SS Trevor Story's seven-game hitting streak ended as he went 0 for 4.

Pirates: SS Jordy Mercer ran his hitting streak to six games with a triple in the fifth inning.


Rockies: RHP Christian Bergman (strained left oblique) was placed on the 15-day DL after being injured Thursday night in the Rockies' 13-7 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.


The Rockies recalled RHPs Miguel Castro and Jordan Lyles from Triple-A Albuquerque and optioned RHP Andrew Oberg to that club.

Castro made six relief appearances and posted a 1.50 ERA for the Rockies earlier in the season. Lyles began the year in Colorado's rotation and was 1-1 with a 7.64 ERA in four starts but will be used in long relief.


Rockies: RHP Tyler Chatwood (5-3, 3.20 ERA) will start Saturday. He has won all four road starts with a major league-best 0.33 ERA.

Pirates: LHP Jon Niese (4-2, 5.48) will make his ninth start. The Pirates are 6-2 when he pitches.