Oliver, who failed to win the fifth starter’s spot in spring training but made the team as a reliever, has emerged as perhaps the most consistent Colorado starter over the last two months.
The 32-year-old left-hander is 6-1 over his last eight starts, allowing three earned runs or fewer seven times during that span.
“You can almost say, ‘Same as last outing,”’ Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said after Oliver yielded three runs and four hits over six innings in Tuesday’s 5-3 win at Cincinnati.
“It’s been a blueprint on how to pitch. He works quick and throws strikes.”
The Rockies fell to an NL-worst 18-41 on the road with Saturday’s 1-0 loss. Colorado has lost four straight and 10 of its last 13 away from Coors Field, where it is 38-16— the second-best home mark in the league.
After going 0-5 in his first eight road starts, Oliver is 4-1 in his last five. He won his last two outings— both on the road— allowing five earned runs and eight hits over 13 innings.
Despite their road struggles, the Rockies are seven games back in the NL wild card race.
The Pirates, who pulled within seven games of first place in the NL Central, have won 10 of 17 since the All-Star break.
Abraham Nunez, whose wife gave birth to a son just 2 1/2 hours before Saturday’s game, drove in the lone run for Pittsburgh.
Nunez went 1-for-3 and is riding a six-game hitting streak. The second baseman is batting .344 (11-for-32) over his last eight games with seven RBIs.
STANDINGS: Rockies - 3rd place, 13 1/2 GB, NL West. Pirates - 4th place, 7 GB, NL Central.
ROCKIES PROBABLE STARTER: Oliver (9-6, 4.79 ERA). Oliver, who is trying to reach 10 wins for the fifth time in his 11-year career, is 0-1 with a 3.44 ERA in three career starts against the Pirates.
PIRATES PROBABLE STARTER: Jeff D’Amico (6-10, 3.79 ERA). D’Amico is 0-2 in his last four starts despite a respectable 3.57 ERA. The 6-foot-7 right-hander didn’t receive a decision for the second straight outing Tuesday, giving up four earned runs and seven hits over six innings in the Pirates’ 8-7 home loss to San Diego. D’Amico is 2-2 with a 4.70 ERA in five games, including four starts, against the Rockies. He is 4-4 with a 3.31 ERA at home this season.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Rockies - Todd Helton, .348 avg. and 99 runs; Preston Wilson, 28 HRs and 106 RBIs; Tony Womack, 11 SBs. Pirates - Brian Giles, .302 avg., and 61 RBIs; Reggie Sanders, 21 HRs and 7 SBs; Jason Kendall, 61 runs.
SEASON SERIES: Pirates, 4-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Rockies - The Rockies, 1-4 on this six-game road swing, have yet to finish a road trip with a .500 record this season. … 1B Helton, who entered Saturday’s game hitting .405 (70-for-173) in 47 games against the Pirates, went 0-for-3. … The Rockies promoted 23-year-old 3B Garrett Atkins from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Saturday. He was batting .320 (133-for-415) in 110 games in the Pacific Coast League this season. Pirates - RHP Mark Corey, recalled late Friday from Triple-A Nashville, was leading the Pacific Coast League in saves with 30. … The Pirates have won eight of their last 11 home meetings with Colorado. … SS Jack Wilson, who had one of Pittsburgh’s three hits Saturday, is 6-for-18 (.333) in his last five games with three RBIs.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rockies - 18-41 on the road; Pirates - 25-31 at home.
INJURIES: Rockies - RHP Nelson Cruz (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Denny Neagle (elbow), 15-day DL; OF Chris Richard (shoulder), 60-day DL. Pirates - RHP Kris Benson (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Dave Williams (shoulder), 60-day DL; INF Pat Meares (hand), 60-day DL; INF Pokey Reese (thumb), 60-day DL.