PITTSBURGH – James McDonald pitched six shutout innings in his Pittsburgh debut and the Pirates sent the Colorado Rockies to their seventh consecutive road loss, 5-1 Thursday night.
Five days after being acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers along with a minor leaguer for closer Octavio Dotel, McDonald had eight strikeouts — as many as any Pirates starter had all season. McDonald struck out the side in the first and got six of the first seven Colorado batters on swinging strikeouts.
Garrett Jones and Ronny Cedeno homered for Pittsburgh, which came in having lost six of its past seven.
Troy Tulowitzki had the lone RBI and three of the Rockies' seven hits — all singles. Colorado had won five of its past six since snapping an eight-game losing streak.
The 25-year-old McDonald (1-1) allowed four hits and a walk in throwing 89 pitches in his second start of the season and sixth of his career. His fastball was in the 94-96 mph range during the first two innings, and he allowed only one runner to advance as far as second base.
The Pirates' starting pitchers combined to strike out eight during a just-completed three-game series against Cincinnati.
Jones snapped an 0-for-20 stretch by leading off the second with a high home run into the elevated seats in right off of Jeff Francis, his team-leading 15th and third in his past three games against the Rockies.
With Lastings Milledge aboard four batters later — and immediately after a foul pop down the left-field line dropped in between three Colorado defenders — Cedeno hit his sixth homer just inside the left field pole.
Francis (4-4) was charged with five earned runs on nine hits. He had five strikeouts in 5 2-3 innings.
NOTES: Colorado 1B Jason Giambi made his first start since July 26 and went 0 for 4. He had only four at bats in the just-completed Rockies' eight-game homestand. 1B Todd Helton was given the day off. ... Twelve of Cedeno's past 24 hits have been for extra bases. ... Tulowitzki is 13 for 35 (.371) since coming off the disabled list July 27. He is 18-38 (.474) in 10 career games at PNC Park.