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Tulowitzki leaves with cramps, Rockies fall to Pirates 3-2 in 11 innings

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PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Troy Tulowitzki sent a slow roller to shortstop and sprinted to first. The All-Star shortstop was a few steps from the bag when he suddenly grabbed his left leg and grimaced before gingerly making his way to the dugout.

Not even the MVP contender is immune to what is quickly becoming another painful summer for the Colorado Rockies.

Tulowitzki left in the fourth inning with what the team said is a cramp. Minus their franchise cornerstone, the Rockies fell to the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 in 11 innings on Saturday night.

"Nothing serious," said Tulowitzki, who leads the majors in batting average (.340) and runs (71). "We'll see how I wake up (Sunday). The good news is I don't think I tore anything or did anything to where I'm going to miss an extended period of time."

A small victory, maybe, on another lost night for the Rockies. Colorado has dropped four straight and is 12-30 since June 1.

The Rockies had their chances. They took a 2-1 lead on Carlos Gonzalez's two-run shot off Charlie Morton in the seventh and had runners on the corners with one out in the 11th. Charlie Blackmon's liner back to the mound was snagged by Pittsburgh reliever Jared Hughes (5-2), who flipped to third for a double play.

"I threw the pitch, it was going to where I wanted it to, and he did an excellent job of getting to it and hitting a line drive. I did not see it," Hughes said. "I feel like it just went right into my glove."

The Pirates didn't let the good fortune go to waste.

Neil Walker led off the inning with a single against Chad Bettis (0-2), moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored one batter later when Jordy Mercer hit a drive deep into the gap in left-centre.

"I was seeing the ball well, but those situations you just kind of slow down," Mercer said. "In those situations, everybody is amped up. Take a deep breath, get something to hit and put a good swing on it."

The Pirates improved to 23-17 in one-run games this season, including 16-8 at home.

"We feel like we're never out of anything, especially in this ballpark," Mercer said. "We just kind of feed off each other and string together some good at-bats, and good things happen."

Colorado starter Brett Anderson, acquired in a trade from Oakland last December following a humbling season in which he went from Opening Day starter to the bullpen, spent seven innings keeping Pittsburgh off balance with a dizzying array of breaking balls.

The left-hander allowed one run and struck out eight with just one walk, his only flub being consecutive doubles by Walker and Gaby Sanchez in the fourth that put the Pirates in front.

He retired the last 12 batters he faced and was in position to earn his first win since April 7, 2013, when Gonzalez took a curveball from Morton in the seventh and sent it streaking into the seats above the Roberto Clemente Wall in right field.

"I think I threw more pitches tonight than I did in two-plus years," Anderson said. "I feel like I battled pretty well and gave us a chance."

For the second straight night, however, Colorado's bullpen faltered.

Pittsburgh scored three times on Friday after Rockies' starter Jorge De La Rosa exited to pull out a 4-2 win. The Pirates put a similar rally together 24 hours later when Anderson left after 110 pitches.

Two walks and a single off Adam Ottavino with one out in the eighth loaded the bases, and Walker laced a single to right against Tommy Kahnle to score Josh Harrison and tie the game. A perfect throw from Gonzalez in right nailed Andrew McCutchen at the plate and kept it even.

The wayward curveball Morton surrendered to Gonzalez in the seventh marred an otherwise steady outing for the resurgent right-hander. Morton gave up two runs and five hits, striking out three and walking one, a performance that raised his ERA at PNC Park this season to 2.18.

NOTES: The Pirates held LF Starling Marte out of the lineup after he left Friday night's win in the eighth inning as a precaution after getting hit in the head with a fastball by Ottavino. ... Colorado 1B Justin Morneau sat out his second straight game with a stiff neck. Morneau hopes to play Sunday in the series finale. Morneau played 25 games for the Pirates at the end of the 2013 season, batting .260 while helping Pittsburgh to its first playoff berth in 21 years. ... Pittsburgh's Jeff Locke (2-1, 2.89 ERA) faces Colorado's Tyler Matzek (1-4, 4.97) on Sunday.

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