Rockies-Pirates Preview

The Pittsburgh Pirates are doing their best to extend Colorado’s
struggles on the road.

Coming off an extra-inning victory, the Pirates look to win
their third straight home series against the Rockies on Sunday.

Trying to remain a postseason contender, Colorado (57-53) has
lost eight of nine on the road to fall to 21-34 away from Coors
Field and Saturday’s loss was particularly tough.

Rookie Pedro Alvarez hit a three-run homer with two outs in the
10th inning to give Pittsburgh (39-71) an 8-7 victory. The Pirates
have won two of three in this series to improve to 6-3 at home
against Colorado since the Rockies swept a three-game set at PNC
Park in 2007.

“Just goes to show you have to play until the last out,” said
Alvarez, 7 for 16 with three home runs and eight RBIs in his last
four games. “If you do that, good things will happen.”

The Rockies’ Ian Stewart had tied the game with a three-run
homer in the ninth and Todd Helton gave them a 7-5 lead with a
two-run shot in the 10th.

However, Huston Street blew his second save when Alvarez hit his
second three-run homer in as many nights. Nine of Alvarez’s 10
homers this season have come at PNC Park.

“For a young guy to come up in those big situations like that,
that’s huge,” Pirates catcher Chris Snyder said. “That’s how you
set the tone of a solid career.”

Colorado looks to bounce back against Pittsburgh’s Paul Maholm
(7-9, 4.59 ERA), who looks to avoid a fifth straight loss to the
Rockies.

Maholm is 1-5 with a 6.26 ERA in seven starts – six on the road
– against Colorado, including 0-4 with a 7.28 ERA in his last five.
He allowed eight runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 9-3 loss to the Rockies
on July 29. In his only home start against Colorado, Maholm threw
seven scoreless innings in a 3-1 loss May 15, 2009.

The left-hander, however, now has a chance to match his win
total from last season after beating Cincinnati on Tuesday by
giving up four runs in six innings of a 7-6 victory.

“You’re just trying to just make sure you don’t put yourself in
a big situation,” Maholm told the Pirates’ official website.

Though Colorado’s Clint Barmes went 0 for 4 on Saturday, he’s 7
for 19 against the Pirates this season and 11 for 19 with two
doubles and two home runs versus Maholm.

With Aaron Cook on the disabled list nursing a sprained toe,
Colorado is expected to recall right-hander Esmil Rogers (1-2,
4.85) from Triple-A Colorado Springs to make his first appearance
against the Pirates.

Rogers, who last pitched in the majors out of the bullpen July
7, is 0-1 with an 8.31 ERA in two starts this season.

“I want to throw the ball where the catcher gives me the glove,”
Rogers told the Rockies’ official website. “I don’t care who the
hitter is. I put the ball right there.”