Rockies-Pirates Preview

If the Colorado Rockies want to remain a postseason contender,

they must win on the road. They also can’t afford to keep losing to

the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Rockies look to avoid a fourth consecutive loss at

Pittsburgh, and eighth straight overall on the road Friday

night.

With a 5 1/2-game deficit and two teams to leapfrog in the

wild-card race, Colorado (56-52) needs to make a serious push to

reach the postseason. That means winning on the road, where the

Rockies are 20-33 and in the midst of their longest losing stretch

since dropping 13 straight May 10-June 2, 2008.

“We need to win a bunch of these,” manager Jim Tracy said after

a 5-1 loss in Thursday’s series opener. “I’m not going to shy away

from that fact.”

The Rockies, who have scored 14 runs in their last seven road

games, have lost three of four to the lowly Pirates (38-70) this

season and five of seven at PNC Park.

“You’re not going to win too many baseball games when you have

one run – it’s that simple,” Tracy said.

Troy Tulowitzki had an RBI and three of the seven hits Thursday

for Colorado, which had scored 46 runs while winning five of six

prior to this four-game set. The Rockies have totaled five runs in

their three losses to the Pirates in 2010.

Tulowitzki, however, is 6 for 15 with three RBIs against

Pittsburgh this season. He is 6 for 8 in his last two games

overall.

After being stymied by James McDonald in his Pirates debut

Thursday, Colorado hopes to prevent Zach Duke (5-10, 5.36 ERA) from

beating the Rockies for a third straight time.

The left-hander improved to 4-2 and lowered his ERA against

Colorado to 6.25 after allowing a pair of home runs over six

innings in a 4-2 win at Coors Field on July 27.

Duke wasn’t as successful Sunday, when he gave up six runs in

five innings of a 9-1 loss at St. Louis. He had posted a 3.18 ERA

while winning two of his previous three starts after missing a

month with a strained elbow.

“Obviously, the numbers don’t match up as well as I feel like I

pitched,” Duke told the Pirates’ official website. “It’s tough. I’m

still going to take the positives from (Sunday) and keep building

on it.”

Colorado counters with Jason Hammel (7-6, 4.37), who looks to

avoid losing his fourth straight decision.

The right-hander is 0-3 with a 5.33 ERA in four starts since the

All-Star break. He allowed four runs in 7 1-3 innings of a 6-5 win

over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.

Hammel gave up five runs in six innings in his only previous

start against Pittsburgh, not factoring in the decision of a 9-7

win June 20, 2009, at Coors Field.

Garrett Jones and Neil Walker each had two hits with an RBI in

the series opener for the Pirates, who have won two of three after

losing five in a row. Jones is 8 for 16 with three home runs and

six RBIs against the Rockies this season.