Rockies-Pirates Preview

Troy Tulowitzki came into the Colorado Rockies’ series against

the Pittsburgh Pirates with an impressive average since returning

from the disabled list, but it’s harder to find a hotter hitter

than Carlos Gonzalez.

The Rockies’ two best hitters look to build on their respective

three-hit performances and help Colorado earn its seventh win in

nine games Saturday night at PNC Park.

With Tulowitzki – who missed six weeks due to a fractured left

wrist – back for the past 10 games, Colorado (57-52) is clicking

again at the plate. The Rockies have hit .330 with 11 homers while

winning six of eight to stay within striking distance in the NL

wild-card race.

Tulowitzki is hitting .400 with 10 RBIs since his return, while

Gonzalez seems to keep matching the feats of his All-Star teammate.

Each had three hits in Friday’s 6-3 win over the Pirates (38-71),

with Gonzalez homering early and Tulowitzki driving in the go-ahead

run in the seventh inning to snap the Rockies’ seven-game road

skid.

Gonzalez is batting .439 with seven homers since Tulowitzki – a

.488 hitter in 11 games at PNC Park – returned to the cleanup

spot.

“He wasn’t an All-Star, and that’s a shame, isn’t it?” manager

Jim Tracy said of Gonzalez, batting .316 on the season with 23

homers and 72 RBIs. “As we continue to see what’s unfolded since

post-All-Star break. But you know something, the numbers strongly

suggest (MVP) consideration.”

Pittsburgh’s Ross Ohlendorf (1-9, 4.41 ERA) won’t be eager to

face either hitter, and may be happy to merely get through a start

without incident. Ohlendorf lasted two-thirds of an inning July 28

at Colorado, leaving after taking a Tulowitzki line drive to the

head.

He nearly had to leave in the first inning again Monday against

Cincinnati after a shot up the middle hit the right-hander in the

right leg. He stayed in the game, but allowed three runs over five

innings of a 4-0 loss.

“I thought it was funny more than anything else. That’s two

games in a row,” Ohlendorf said. “I don’t know what’s going to

happen the next time. At least it saved a hit.”

Tulowitzki is 3 for 7 with two homers and Gonzalez 2 for 6 with

one homer off Ohlendorf, who’s 1-1 with a 6.94 ERA in three career

starts against Colorado.

The Rockies will counter with Jorge De La Rosa (4-3, 5.01). The

left-hander, who spent 2 1/2 months recovering from a torn tendon

in his middle finger, earned his first win in five starts since

returning by allowing three runs over 6 2-3 innings of Sunday’s 8-7

victory over the Cubs.

“He got set back a little bit with the finger and the first

couple (starts) coming back off the injury weren’t real good,”

Tracy told the Rockies’ official website. “But he has rectified

himself and resembles an awful lot the guy we had predominantly the

entire season last year.”

De La Rosa allowed three runs over seven innings of a 4-2 loss

to the Pirates in Denver on July 27, falling to 2-1 with a 2.81 ERA

in four starts in this series since 2008.

Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen is 3 for 7 with a

double and triple against De La Rosa.