Rockies, Pirates play two in Steel City
A pair of hard-luck pitchers without a win in 2012 will take the mound for the Pittsburgh Pirates today when they host the Colorado Rockies in games two and three of a weather-impacted series at PNC Park.
The teams were scheduled to play a traditional three-game series beginning Monday, but the opener was scrubbed and rescheduled when inclement weather - in the form of rain and wet snow - hit western Pennsylvania.
They managed to get the reconfigured opener in on Tuesday and the Pirates broke on top of the series when Casey McGehee singled home the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth inning of a 5-4 win.
The Pirates rallied twice late in the game. They erased a 2-1 deficit in the seventh on Andrew McCutchen's two-run double off the center field wall, but Colorado moved back in front in the eighth on a two-out, two-run homer by Carlos Gonzalez, his second of the night, off Tony Watson (1-0).
Clint Barmes belted a game-tying home run off Matt Belisle (1-1) to lead off the bottom of the inning. Pinch-hitter Garrett Jones then walked and Alex Presley reached when Belisle mishandled his sacrifice bunt.
After Jose Tabata popped out to the catcher on a failed bunt attempt and McCutchen grounded into a 1-6 fielder's choice, McGehee stroked a single to right-center to put the Pirates on top.
Joel Hanrahan tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his third save of the season.
Pittsburgh right-hander James McDonald gets the ball in today's opener after his initial three starts of the season have ended in no-decision, loss and no- decision in spite of his allowing just six runs on 13 hits in 15 2/3 innings.
The 27-year-old Californian was 9-9 in 31 starts with the Pirates in 2011 and pitched a career-high 171 innings while posting a 4.21 earned run average.
Prior to 2011, he's appeared in 64 games and made 16 starts with Pittsburgh and the Los Angeles Dodgers, who made him an 11th-round draft choice in 2002.
Starting the nightcap for Pittsburgh is righty Charlie Morton, who's started twice and gotten a loss and a no-decision while opponents have managed just four earned runs in 10 innings.
Morton was a 10-game winner in 29 starts last season after winning just twice in 17 outings - and spending time in the minors - a season earlier in 2010.
In three career meetings with the Rockies, he's 1-0 with a 4.15 ERA in 17 1/3 innings.
Colorado sends Dominican-born righty Juan Nicasio to the mound against the Pirates for the first time in his career in the opener, while teammate Jhoulys Chacin faces Pittsburgh for the fourth time in the nightcap.
The two have combined to go 0-2 in six starts thus far in 2012 while allowing 29 hits and 19 runs in 31 innings.
Chacin is 1-2 in three career starts against the Pirates with a 6.32 ERA in 15 2/3 innings.
Nicasio is coming off a 6 1/3-inning defeat of San Diego in which he gave up seven hits and four runs in an 8-4 triumph.
The Rockies have won five of their past eight in Pittsburgh.