DENVER -- With snow falling, the wind chill factor making it feel like 30 degrees at Coors Field, and the Rockies' offense every bit as cold, at least Carlos Gonzalez provided fans a chance to beat their hands until warm.
Gonzalez's ninth-inning bunt single ended his nightmare slump at 0-for-25. Problem was, the Rockies gave their fans little of anything to cheer beyond that while falling to the Pirates, 3-0, on Friday night before 34,477.
"It was tough since the beginning," Gonzalez said. "By my fist at-bat, everybody was complaining when you were in the box. Just the wind was blowing in your face and your eyes get blurry. It was tough for us. I'm sure it was tough for the other team, too."
It might as well have been a tropical paradise for former Rockies manager Clint Hurdle, managing his first game at Coors since the Rockies replaced him with current skipper Jim Tracy on May 29, 2009. It was the first shutout for the Pirates in Denver since the Rockies came into being in 1993. That stretch covers 74 games, 65 at Coors and the rest at old Mile High Stadium.
The Rockies last suffered a home shutout last Aug. 3, a 10-0 loss to the Giants and starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez.
"It's impressive that this is our first shutout in this ballpark," Hurdle said. "Good for us. It's hard to shut any club the Rockies have had down at home, especially that team over there right now. Our guys are building confidence on the road."
April has been generally bright for the Rockies, but a night like Friday cast a light on a shadowy aspect of the 16-8 start. Gonzalez, last year's NL batting champ, is down to .216. The players who had the Rockies' first two hits off Kevin Correia could only wish for those numbers. Chris Iannetta, whose hard-hit grounder bounced off second baseman Neil Walker for a third-inning single, is at .173. Jose Lopez, who singled with two down in the fifth, has a .152 mark.
"Offensively, collectively, we've got some guys that are searching," Tracy said. "When you don't score, you can't win. It's that simple."
Strong Pirates pitching -- led by Correia (4-2) -- who gave up three hits in 6 2/3 innings, left the Rockies with five singles and no runner advancing beyond second base.
"They've got a very good offensive team, and it's a good hitters park," said Correia, who last won at Coors in 2007. "There was a lot of wind out there, so I was just focused on keeping the ball down and hitting my spots. I was able to do that."
Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin (3-2) was almost as effective in striking out a season-high eight against zero walks in seven innings pitched.
However, the Pirates braved the conditions for three big swings -- home runs by Andrew McCutchen in the third inning and Garrett Jones in the sixth, and an RBI triple by Ronny Cedeno in the seventh.
"The only thing you can do is try to keep the team in the game and wait until we can get a rally," Chacin said. "I felt pretty good. The command was good. The only thing they did was hit two homers."
The announced game-time temperature was 53, but it felt much worse. Light snow arrived in the late innings. Looking at how little the teams accomplished offensively, it's easy to assume conditions favored pitchers.
Chacin begged to differ.
"I think it's tough for everybody -- we are cold, too," he said.
Cedeno said Chacin was every bit as tough as the weather.
"The guy today, he moved the ball good," Cedeno said. "He had good breaking balls and good sliders. It was very tough."
It was an icy homecoming for the Rockies after their 3-2 road trip to warm Florida and wet Wrigley Field in Chicago. Traditionally poor on the road, the Rockies are 10-3 away from home, but a pedestrian 6-5 at Coors.
No matter where they're playing, the Rockies have made matters tough with their .236 team batting average. More often than not, they've prevailed. Friday's loss dropped the Rockies behind the Phillies (17-8) in terms of the best records in the National League, but they're still the early NL West leaders and have two more games in this series with the Pirates.
"We definitely have enough firepower that we can get out of this thing," Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said. "We've been in a little bit of a rut lately, but the fact is we are 16-8 and I think we've got to look on that and know that we are a good team."
Putting an end to his lengthy and uncharacteristic slump won't necessarily keep Gonzalez warm. He was just looking to heat up the offense with his ninth inning-opening bunt against Joel Hanrahan, who would go on to notch his eighth save. But Tulowitzki grounded into a fielder's choice, Todd Helton flied on a solidly hit ball to left that stood no chance against the wind, and Ryan Spilborghs struck out.
"I've been through this before, so I'm not going to let that affect me, and I'm not going to let the team get affected because I'm not hitting," Gonzalez said. "I'm going to continue to work. When I get hotter, everything else is going to be fine. The lineup is going to look better."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.