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Harrison leads Pirates past Rockies
DENVER -- His tie-breaking home run in the eighth was by no means the most impressive thing Josh Harrison did Sunday as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Colorado Rockies 7-5.
Harrison, who went 4-for-6 with two RBIs and two runs scored, led off the sixth with a single against Chad Bettis, stole second and made it to third as he dashed back and forth and escaped a rundown in which the Rockies made five throws.
Harrison's head-first slide took him past second base. Shortstop Josh Rutledge made a move -- but a tentative one -- to tag Harrison, who got into a 6-5-6-1-6-2 rundown but made it to third, getting credit for another stolen base.
"I knew I was safe on the steal, but the ground's kind of hard and I felt myself oversliding," Harrison said. "(Rutledge) tagged me while I was on the bag. As I got off, I was like, 'It's easy for me to try to make something happen as opposed to trying to reach back to second because he was right there.' And something happened."
Harrison broke out a stop-and-go move and literally put Rockies catcher Wilin Rosaro on his back to finally take third.
Rockies manager Walt Weiss said, "I look at a rundown as a free out. Harrison's one of the tougher guys to put away in a rundown but we've got to get the out there."
Exactly one month ago against the New York Mets, Harrison juked his way out of a similar move.
"It's just athleticism," said Pirates first baseman Ike Davis, who rifled a two-out pinch hit double to right that scored Harrison to cap a three-run inning that put the Pirates ahead 5-4. "It's not the first time he's done it. I don't know how you do it, but he's done it, he's good at it. I wish I had that in the bag."
The win enabled the Pirates to avoid being swept in the three-game series.
Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado tied the game at 5 with a homer in the seventh off Tony Watson (7-1). But Harrison and the Pirates quickly struck back in the eighth on a four-pitch sequence against left-hander Rex Brothers (3-5), who had just entered the game.
Harrison drove his first pitch for an opposite-field homer to right-center, his sixth homer of the season.
"I couldn't tell you if I was looking to go the other way," Harrison said. "I was looking for a pitch I knew I could get (the) barrel on. He threw a pitch that was probably middle, I could either pull or hit the other way. I was able to barrel it to right-center."
Right fielder Gregory Polanco, who had three strikeouts and a sacrifice fly at that point, followed with his fifth homer. Polanco was 7-for-53 (.132) with 16 strikeouts when he connected against the beleaguered Brothers on a slider that backed up.
Brothers allowed six homers in 42 innings with a 4.71 ERA this year after yielding five homers in 67 1/3 innings last year when he had a 1.74 ERA.
"I can't explain it, to be honest," Brothers said. "The way we've played the last couple of days (winning each of the first two games of the series 8-1) and to go out there and do that today, I really can't put it into words."
The Pirates got a huge lift in the fifth from Jared Hughes. He relieved starter Edinson Volquez with the bases loaded and one out and got Brandon Barnes, who had hit a two-run homer on his previous at-bat in the fourth, to ground into a double play.
"My first one, I left up and he hit a shot down the (left field) line foul," Hughes said. "It helped me understand that if I leave it up, he's going to hit the heck out of it. The big thing was just getting ahead in the count. Bases loaded there, I'm really thinking, 'Hey, put it in play.' The best way to do that is to throw strikes. That's what I did."
Mark Melancon converted his ninth straight save opportunity and earned his 19th save of the season by retiring the side in order in the ninth.
NOTES: Rockies 1B Justin Morneau (neck strain) and LHP Boone Logan (diverticulitis) will play in a rehab game Monday at Triple-A Colorado Springs and could rejoin the Rockies on Tuesday in Chicago. Morneau is eligible to be activated that day, and Logan was eligible to return Sunday. ... Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki (left hip flexor strain) will undergo a dry needling procedure Monday in Philadelphia from Dr. William Myers, a leg and core muscle specialist who operated on Tulowitzki's groin in 2012. ... Rockies RHP Jordan Lyles (broken left hand) is scheduled to make his second rehab start Thursday for Colorado Springs after throwing 71 pitches in 3 2/3 scoreless innings for high Class-A Modesto on Saturday night. ... Pirates 3B Pedro Alvarez was back in the lineup for the first time since Tuesday when he left the game with left knee discomfort. He was charged with his 21st throwing error and 23rd error overall in the fourth.