In his return to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Aramis Ramirez has shown a willingness to do whatever is asked of him. He’s in his final season as a Major League player and all he wants is to help his team win.
Ramirez accomplished just that on Saturday night as his offense helped the Pirates win 4-3 over the Colorado Rockies.
Ramirez’s three-run home run came in the first inning on a 2-2 sinker from Chris Rusin [4-7]. It was Ramirez’s 382nd career home run and 78th as a Pirate. Ramirez entered play batting .310 with 15 RBI in his last 20 games and now has knocked in 20 runs in his first 29 games since being acquired by the Pirates.
“I feel pretty good right now,” Ramirez said. “This is what you play for as a player. For myself, I have something to play for every single day so it cannot be any better than that.”
The Rockies countered with a third inning run. Brandon Barnes led off the inning with a double, his 12th of the season and Rusin helped his own cause with a single. Charlie Blackmon grounded into a force out in which Rusin was thrown out at second base, but the play allowed Barnes to score.
Jason Gurka replaced Rusin in the seventh inning and allowed singles to Neil Walker and pinch-hitter Michael Morse. Gregory Polanco then grounded into a force out, scoring Starling Marte who pinch-ran for Walker.
Tony Watson pitched a scoreless eighth inning and, in the process, recorded his Major League-leading 34th hold of the season, which ties a career-high set last season.
Mark Melancon pitched the ninth inning and allowed a home run to Nick Hundley, his 10th of the season. It was the first home run earned against Melancon since May 11 against the Philadelphia Phillies.
With one out and the tying run on first base, Blackmon lined into a double play to second baseman Josh Harrison. Harrison ran to tag first base and double up the runner with Sean Rodriguez guiding the way. Melancon earned his league-leading 43rd save of the season, which ties him with Jose Mesa for second-most in a single season in team history.
J.A. Happ [3-1] has now won his past three decisions and has allowed 11 hits in 17.2 innings of work in those three wins. Furthermore, Happ has been charged with two earned runs in his last four outings, which span 23 innings of work.
“It was a battle all night long for sure,” said Happ on his outing. “They fouled a lot of balls off so I just tried to move it around, locate and execute pitches. It was still tough for sure.”
Both this series and the short homestand conclude Sunday afternoon when Charlie Morton [8-5 4.20 ERA] takes on Jorge De La Rosa [7-6 4.61 ERA]. Morton is 2-1 with a 3.62 ERA in six career starts against the Rockies.
Of note: The West Virginia Power defeated the Lexington Legends 8-1 Saturday night and by doing so secured a postseason berth, its second in three years. This is the fourth time the Power have made the playoffs in their 11-year history… Rob Scahill threw two innings for Triple-A Indianapolis and allowed a run on three hits while walking two batters in latest appearance as part of a rehab assignment. Corey Hart went 1-for-4 with a double and two RBI in the same game.
Photo credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images