Barmes delivering the goods defensively

Barmes delivering the goods defensively

DENVER -- In a world of middle-infield sizzle, the Bucs' Clint Barmes and Neil Walker keep bringing the steak. No acrobatic dives and no-look between-the-legs flips. Just outs, many of them two at a time.

Describing their style of play earlier this season, Barmes called it "vanilla." Can we then call Pittsburgh's double-play combination 'Vanilla Twice?'

Even in the aftermath of a 6-2 win on Tuesday that featured two hits apiece by Andrew McCutchen and Walker, and a reassuring win by Erik Bedard, manager Clint Hurdle found time to salute Barmes. The shortstop flawlessly handle nine chances, including triggering a fifth-inning double play with a backhand stop deep in the hole.

"What a fantastic game by Barmes at short. He was all over the place," Hurdle said, mindful that highlight double play came right after the Pirates had grabbed a lead and kept the Rockies from mounting a retort.

Leather continues to be Barmes' meal ticket, and the .204 hitter has been eating well. He has made only one error in his last 26 games and his .980 fielding percentage over the last three months ranks second in the National League to -- speaking of the sizzle -- Jose Reyes' .983.

"It was fun getting all that action out there," said Barmes, enjoying the return to the place where five years ago Troy Tulowitzki supplanted him as Colorado's regular shortstop.