Series: Game 2 of 3

Series tied 1-1 (as of 5/13)

Game 1: Tuesday, May 11
in 12
Game 2: Wednesday, May 12
Game 2: Thursday, May 13
Game 3: Thursday, May 13

Pirates 5

(13-18, 9-8 away)

Rockies 7

(14-18, 9-8 home)

    3:05 PM ET, May 13, 2004

    Coors Field, Denver, Colorado 

    123456789 R H E
    PIT 010000310 5 8 0
    COL 02111011 - 7 9 2

    W: S. Estes (5-2)

    L: K. Benson (3-3)

    S: S. Chacon (9)

    Lefty tosses six after early struggles

    DENVER (AP) -- A day of waiting and a short warmup took some of the zing off Shawn Estes' pitches early.

    He made up for it with location.

    Estes fought through some early stiffness to follow the worst start of his career with six-plus strong innings, lifting the Colorado Rockies over the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-5 Thursday in the first game of a doubleheader.

    "It took me an inning or two to get going, but I was hitting my spots fortunately," Estes said. "I didn't have any giddyup on anything, but I was hitting my spots and finally started feeling good about the third or fourth inning."

    Estes (5-2) was scheduled to start Wednesday against the Pirates, but that game was pushed back because of rain and snow. More rain left the starting time Thursday in doubt, and Estes had to scramble when he found out the game would go on as scheduled.

    Estes was tight and struggled with his control early -- a hit batter and a walk led to a run in the second inning -- but kept spotting his big-breaking curveball to keep the Pirates on their heels.

    The rest of Estes' pitches came around after that and he allowed two runs on three hits in 6 1-3 innings after giving up a career-high nine earned runs in 2 2-3 innings Friday against the Chicago Cubs. Five of his six strikeouts came looking at his curveball, including Craig Wilson twice.

    "He pitched well -- a lot better command of his breaking ball," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "It's a pitch he needs to mix in more and he did."

    Royce Clayton, Jeromy Burnitz and Luis Gonzalez homered for Colorado, which won for just the third time in eight games.

    This marked the first traditional doubleheader in Rockies' history at Coors Field -- Colorado has played 15 day-night twinbills in which fans had to buy separate tickets for each game.

    The Pirates had a season-high 19 hits in a 15-10, 12-inning victory over the Rockies on Tuesday night, but had trouble with Estes' slow curveball to lose for the seventh time in eight games.

    "We didn't play a good game," Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. "We left pitches up in the zone and paid for them. We didn't execute. It was a very disappointing loss."

    The Pirates at least made it interesting.

    Jose Castillo had a two-run double off Jeff Fassero in the seventh inning, then pitcher Kris Benson knocked in another run with a groundout to cut Colorado's lead to 5-4.

    Gonzalez put the Rockies back up two with a run-scoring single in the bottom half, but Craig Wilson made it 6-5 with a run-scoring single off Brian Fuentes in the eighth.

    The Rockies then added an insurance run in the eighth, and Shawn Chacon pitched the ninth for his ninth save.

    Benson (3-3) drove in two runs, but continued to struggle since opening the season 2-0. He allowed six runs on nine hits in 6 1-3 innings to lose for the third time in four starts.

    Benson has given up five or more runs in three of four outings after allowing four total his first three starts.

    "It's the obvious thing that if you get the ball up in the air here they are going to carry out," Benson said. "They took advantage of some balls up in the zone and they put them beyond the fences."

    Colorado scored twice in the second inning on Burnitz's single and a sacrifice by Mark Sweeney. Clayton made it 3-1 in the third with a solo homer, his third of the season and 100th career.

    Burnitz led off the next inning with a homer, his ninth, and Gonzalez made it 5-1 in the fifth with a solo shot to right.

    Game notes

    1B Wilson made a sliding catch against the rail in front of Colorado's dugout on a popup by Gonzalez in the third inning. ... Pirates RF J.J. Davis came out after being hit on the right pinky during a pickoff attempt in the second inning. X-rays were negative and he's listed as day-to-day.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press