- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 22, 2015

DENVER (AP) - Jon Gray hasn’t found his comfort zone yet at Coors Field.

The Rockies’ prized rookie right-hander struggled again on his home turf, taking the loss in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 9-3 defeat of Colorado on Monday night.

“It’s just that I can’t find that whatever it is, to make an adjustment, to pitch in this place,” said Gray (0-2). “I feel like my road numbers are pretty good. Here, they’re really bad.”

Gray’s ERA at Coors Field, known as a hitter-friendly park because of Denver’s mile-high altitude, climbed to 8.27 in five starts. On the road, his ERA stands at 2.70.

He was hit hard by the Pirates, especially in the first inning, when Starling Marte and Aramis Ramirez both homered. Gray went 4 2-3 innings and allowed five runs on nine hits.

“He left some changeups up,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “I thought he settled in pretty nicely later on. But early on, he struggled to get the ball down.”

Gray said he didn’t expect the Pirates to come out swinging as forcefully as they did.

“They’re really aggressive,” Gray said. “I didn’t expect that to happen. I tried to expand from there but I didn’t get much movement tonight and that’s one thing I really need to work on.

Gray added, “I really think it just comes from mindset. I think I really need to work on pitch location. That’s really going to be a difference maker, pitching at Coors.”

Jordy Mercer had four hits on the night, including doubles in the second and fourth innings to drive in Francisco Cervelli as the Pirates built a 5-0 lead on Gray.

Pittsburgh starter A.J. Burnett cruised through the first four innings before an error in the fifth preceded Tom Murphy’s three-run homer that made it 5-3.

Burnett (9-5) then hit a batter and walked two more to load the bases before striking out Nolan Arenado to end the inning.

The Rockies again loaded the bases against Burnett in the sixth inning but Antonio Bastardo came on and got DJ LeMahieu to line out to second.

Ramirez added an RBI single during Pittsburgh’s three-run ninth.


Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon swiped second and third on consecutive pitches in the fifth inning to reach 40 steals. He is the fourth Rockie to have 40 or more steals and the first since Willy Taveras had 68 in 2008.


Rockies: LHP Yohan Flande is progressing and may not miss his scheduled start Friday. Flande left Saturday’s game in the fourth inning after taking a line drive off his left knee. .LHP Jorge De La Rosa was scratched from his scheduled start on Wednesday because of right Achilles’ tendinitis. RHP Christian Bergman will start in his place.


Pirates: LHP J.A. Happ (5-2) will try to continue his mastery over Colorado. He is 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA in five games - four starts - against the Rockies.

Rockies: LHP Chris Rusin (5-8) has pitched complete games in two of his last three Coors Field starts. He shut out San Diego on Aug. 16 and beat San Francisco 11-3 on Sept. 3.

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