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Near-cycle, 11 runs … and still needed a save ☕


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Kevin Newman is congratulated by Starling Marte after his first home run Thursday in Denver. - AP

DENVER -- Everyone's on fire.

At least, that's how the first inning played out for the Pirates in this 11-8 win a mile up in the Rocky Mountains. At a certain point, I swore I heard Oprah bellowing from above — "YOU get a hit! And YOU get a hit!" — but I confirmed with staff PR she was not actually onsite at Coors Field.

Just an illusion, I guess.

What wasn't an illusion was all this:

Count 'em. Seven runs, one inning. Actually, that's seven runs in two-thirds of an inning. It was just slightly ridiculous.

"To get seven in the first ... it doesn't happen very often," Clint Hurdle was saying after the game.

And, yeah, we're a hop, skip and a jump away from the mesosphere here in Denver, but...

"It doesn't happen very often anywhere," Hurdle was quick to add.

But it happened tonight, and rookie Kevin Newman was responsible for three of those seven. In all, he'd go for four hits — his second four-hit game in five days and his fourth of the year, the most by any rookie since Mike Trout's five in 2012.

Just how ridiculous was Newman's game? With the cycle on the table — he'd hit a home run, a double and a single leading into his fourth at-bat — he ... hit another home run.

And that kinda bugged him.

"Everybody, as I was walking down the dugout, everybody goes, 'Just hit a triple. Hit a triple. Hit a triple,'" Newman was saying at his locker after the game. " ... It was a win-win. Off the bat, I didn't think they were going to catch it. I figured if it gets out, it gets out and if it doesn't, I was busting for a triple.

"It definitely would've been really cool to get an accomplishment like that. But I also never hit two home runs in a game either, so that's a cool accomplishment too."

Now, digest everything to this point. A seven-run first. Another Newman home run late. I'll even add that Jose Osuna blasted a 440-foot solo bomb in the fourth.

All this early offense, and the Pirates still almost gave it away in the eighth. That's what happens when you turn to Montana DuRapau up 11-3. Fresh off a call-up today from Class AAA Indianapolis, DuRapau logged two quick outs and then:

Wait, don't roll your eyes too much yet. There's more:

OK, OK, so get him out of there with two-thirds of an inning pitched, three hits, four earned runs, one walk and one strikeout. Let Michael Feliz take over.

Yep. That happened.

Three batters faced, two hits, one earned run, one walk, zero strikeouts and one home run for Feliz. It's never a good sign when your line starts with "batters faced" rather than "innings pitched."

Feliz couldn't get an out, and he visibly showed frustration prior to getting yanked, slamming the rosin bag on the mound and pounding his glove.

"With an eight-run lead, you like to see your underbelly of your bullpen be able to pick up an inning," Hurdle said. "Feliz followed [DuRapau] up — and he has the best numbers against left-handed hitters of anybody in the bullpen not named Vazquez. We didn't manage the eighth inning well and gave up five."

Feliz was yanked for Francisco Liriano, who struck out the next batter, before handing the ball to Felipe Vazquez to do ... well, Vazquez stuff. He notched two strikeouts — the second coming off 102-MPH heat — before...

Right to Newman.


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