Defense key in Rox's Monday win over Pirates

Defense key in Rox's Monday win over Pirates

Defense key in Rox's Monday win over Pirates
DENVER -- The Rockies beat Pittsburgh Monday night, 5-4, thanks to a sacrifice fly by Dexter Fowler in the bottom of the ninth.

But it's likely they wouldn't have been in the position to win without some superb defensive plays.

Fowler made the highlight-reel one, leaping against the wall in center field to rob Rod Barajas of a likely home run in the third.

"Fowler is awesome back there," teammate Jordan Pacheco said. "Nothing can get by him."

Catcher Wilin Rosario picked off the speedy Andrew McCutchen at second base in the fourth inning, his 16th of the season.

Pacheco, the rookie third baseman, was the defensive star of the night though, notching four assists -- his second-most on the year -- and making two diving stops at the hot corner.

The first, a lunge to his left, prevented Pittsburgh's Clint Barmes from leading off the third inning with a single. "As a pitcher, people always say, 'Use your defense, let them do their job,'" starting pitcher Jeff Francis said. "They did that and more tonight."

Pacheco saved a double in the top of the sixth inning, diving to his right and corralling a ball he had no business getting to. His throw to first beat Josh Harrison by a foot.

"We saw two plays tonight from Pacheco that we haven't seen a lot of, which tells me the work [Rockies third-base coach Rich] Dauer is doing with him is paying off," manager Jim Tracy said after the game. "Progress is being made there, and I'm very pleased to see that."

Pacheco's efforts rubbed off on shortstop Josh Rutledge who, one hitter later, stabbed at a hard grounder to his left off the bat of McCutchen, then spun over his left shoulder and fired a throw off his back foot.

"I knew I had to get rid of it quick, so with a really fast runner the spin throw is about the only thing I can do," Rutledge said. "It was pretty exciting seeing [Pacheco] make that play -- it pumped me up. And the next one happened to come right to me."

After Pedro Alvarez hit a three-run homer in the top of the ninth off of Rex Brothers to tie the game, Barajas notched a one-out single. As if on cue, Pacheco turned the next grounder he saw -- from Barmes -- into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.

"Some days my defense is good, some days not so good," Pacheco said. "I've just got to be consistent, keep taking my grounders. I'll still have the balls I throw into the stands, but I'm limiting that."