Kris Bryant and Jose Urena were late to the party but they sure have spiced things up for the Rockies.
The Rockies shut out the Pirates, 2-0, Saturday afternoon at Coors Field, extending their winning streak to a season-high five games.
Bryant, out for much of the first half of the season with a back injury, was 3-for-3 with a walk and drove in a run. Urena, a journeyman who began the season in Milwaukee’s bullpen before being cut, pitched six scoreless innings.
Closer Daniel Bard issued a leadoff walk in the ninth but emerged unscathed to record his 20th save in 22 opportunities.
Bryant was instrumental to the Rockies’ offense. His two-out single in the seventh kept a rally alive, moved Brian Serven to third base and set up Charlie Blackmon’s RBI single to right off right-hander Yerry de Los Santos, making it 2-0.
Without Bryant in the starting lineup, the Rockies were 20-33. With him in the lineup, they improved to 23-16.
Urena held the Pirates to five hits, striking out four and walking two. Most impressive, he recorded 11 outs via groundballs, including two double plays.
He worked out of a minor jam in the first inning. Back-to-back singles by Ben Gamel and Ke’Bryan Hayes tested Urena, but he got Daniel Vogelbach to fly out to center and struck out Oneil Cruz looking.
Right fielder Connor Joe provided Urena with a boost in the sixth. After Vogelbach drew a walk, Cruz drilled the ball off the scoreboard in right field, but Joe fielded the ball perfectly, holding Cruz to a single and holding the slow-footed Vogelbach at third.
Urena has proved to be an excellent, under-the-radar pickup. Signed by the Rockies to a minor-league contract on May 16, he’s 1-1 with a 2.05 ERA after his third start with Colorado.
Pirates right-hander Mitch Keller matched Urena, holding the Rockies to one unearned run over six innings. He struck out six and allowed only five hits.
One error cost Keller dearly. With two outs in the fifth, Joe hit a routine grounder to Cruz, Pittsburgh’s prized, 6-foot-7 rookie shortstop. But Cruz chucked the ball into the Rockies dugout, allowing Joe to take second. Bryant came through with a single to center, giving Colorado a 1-0 lead.
The Rockies, winners of 8 of their last 10 games, will attempt to finish off their three-game sweep of the Pirates on Sunday, their final game before the all-star break.