Pitching in the chill of a light snow took some getting used to for Kevin Correia, not that it showed.
Correia pitched effectively into the seventh inning and Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones each homered, leading the Pittsburgh Pirates past the Colorado Rockies 3-0 on Friday night.
"The snow wasn't bad — it was real light — but it was a new experience for me," said Correia, who overcame the elements to become the first Pirates pitcher to win four games in April since Jeff Suppan in 2003.
Helped by defensive plays that included a running catch of Todd Helton's seventh-inning drive to the wall by left fielder Jose Tabata, Correia (4-2) allowed three hits in 6 2-3 innings. He struck out four and walked one in playing a central role in the Pirates' first shutout of the Rockies at Coors Field.
"It's a hard thing to do," Correia said. "That team has always had a good offense and there hasn't been many shutouts in this stadium, so it's an accomplishment and it was a first for the Pirates here. It's nice to go out there and not give up any runs as a team."
The victory against a Rockies team that came in tied with Cleveland and Philadelphia for the most wins (16) in the majors sweetened the homecoming for first-year Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle. He spent 15 years with the Colorado organization, including eight seasons as manager, and guided the Rockies to their only World Series appearance in 2007.
Hurdle knows well how tough it is to keep the Rockies scoreless, the weather notwithstanding.
"It's impressive that this is our first shutout at this ballpark, so good for us," he said. "It's hard to shut down any club that the Rockies have had at home, especially that team over there right now. But our guys are building confidence on the road. We've gotten to a good place on the road, where we know we've got to take the ballgame to them."
The Rockies were limited to five singles and the heart of their batting order — Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki and Todd Helton — were a combined 1 for 12 during a game that was played in intermittent snow. Gonzalez bunted his way on in the ninth to break an 0-for-25 skid before Joel Hanrahan retired the next three batters for his eighth save in eight chances.
"We've got some guys who are searching, obviously," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "They may be pressing a little bit, but they're professional guys and there is a lot of experience in the clubhouse. They realize this will turn, as do I."
Colorado starter Jhoulys Chacin (3-2) went seven innings and allowed three runs on six hits, including two homers, but kept the Rockies in it.
"The only thing you can do is try to pitch well and keep your team in the game," he said.
Chacin, who had eight strikeouts and no walks, had not allowed a run over 16 innings in winning his previous two starts at home before giving up a solo homer in the third. McCutchen drove his 2-1 offering over the center-field wall for his fourth home run of the season.
The Pirates made it 2-0 in the sixth as Jones connected for his fifth home run, a two-out drive off Chacin that sailed into the right-field seats.
NOTES: Before the game, the Rockies recalled INF Alfredo Amezaga from Colorado Springs and optioned RHP Clayton Mortensen to their Triple-A affiliate. In a separate move, the Rockies designated RHP Alan Johnson for assignment. ... Ronny Cedeno's RBI triple was the first by a Pirates player this season. The Pirates were the last team in the majors to hit a triple. ... With one game remaining in April, the Rockies are one win shy of the team record for most wins in the month. The 1997 Rockies, under Hurdle, had 17 wins during April.