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Pirates Kick Off Series Against Rockies

Sports Network | July 27, 2010

 

(Sports Network) - The suddenly-skidding Colorado Rockies welcome another struggling National League team to Coors Field tonight, when they open a three-game midweek series with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Colorado, which has lost six straight games, enters the set sitting fourth in the NL's West Division - eight games behind the first-place San Diego Padres and 4 1/2 games off the pace of the Wild Card-leading San Francisco Giants.

Pittsburgh, meanwhile, is dead-last in the NL Central, 20 1/2 games behind the division-leading St. Louis Cardinals.

The Rockies, who are 31-16 at home, come in after a four-game sweep at the hands of Philadelphia in a series that ended with a 5-4 defeat on Monday, when Brian Schneider hit a two-run triple and Joe Blanton threw six solid innings for the Phillies.

Jason Hammel (7-6) allowed five runs -- four earned -- in 5 2/3 innings to take the loss for Colorado.

The Pirates come in having dropped four straight, including a 6-3 home loss to San Diego on Sunday, whenChris Denorfia and Adrian Gonzalez each homered for the Padres.

Ronny Cedeno hit a two-run homer for the Pirates, who went 4-6 on a 10-game homestand. Starting pitcherBrad Lincoln (1-4) lasted 6 1/3 innings, giving up six runs on eight hits. He also had an RBI.

Colorado sends lefty Jorge De La Rosa to the mound in search of a first win since returning from an extended stay on the disabled list.

The 29-year-old was 3-1 with a 3.91 earned run average through his initial four starts in April, but is 0-1 with a pair of no-decisions in three outings since returning to full-time duty on July 9. He's given up 13 hits and 16 runs in 13 2/3 innings over three starts.

De La Rosa is 3-1 lifetime against the Pirates with a 4.26 ERA in eight appearances, four of which have been starts.

For Pittsburgh, lefty Zach Duke aims for a second straight triumph after ending a five-start losing streak.

The 27-year-old Texan fell from 3-4 to 3-9 over five straight outings between May 28 and July 16, but bounced back in a 15-3 rout of Milwaukee on July 21 in which he gave up six hits and two earned runs in six innings. It was Duke's first win since May 18.

Lifetime against the Rockies, Duke is 3-2 with a 6.90 ERA in five starts. He is 2-4 over six road starts in 2010.

Colorado won six of nine matchups with the Pirates last year and has dominated this series at home over the past two seasons, having gone 9-1 against Pittsburgh at Coors Field since 2008.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.