The San Francisco Giants look to make up some ground in the wild-card race when they open a three-game series Tuesday at AT&T Park against a Colorado Rockies team that has one of the worst road records in the NL.
The Giants (72-71) trail wild card-leading San Diego by 2 1/2 games. After beating the Padres in the first two games of their weekend set, San Francisco failed to get any closer in the standings with a 10-2 loss in Sunday’s series finale.
“We put ourselves in a position to sweep and couldn’t win today, that’s all,” said Matt Morris, who took the loss.
Sunday’s defeat snapped San Francisco’s three-game winning streak, but it’s still an NL-best 18-8 since Aug. 14.
Ray Durham doubled twice and drove in a run on Sunday to give him six multihit games in his last eight. He is batting .406 (13-for-32) with four doubles, three homers and five RBIs in that span.
Barry Bonds, who has six home runs in his last 10 games, is batting .343 (12-for-35) with three homers and seven RBIs in 11 games against the Rockies (67-76) this season.
The Giants are just 5-7 against Colorado this year and have not had a losing season against them since going 5-7 in 1998. The Rockies have won four of the last five in this series.
Colorado, though, has been dreadful on the road lately, winning just two of its last 17 away from Coors Field. The Rockies are an NL-worst 6-23 on the road since the All-Star break.
Colorado defeated Washington 13-9 on Sunday and won all eight meetings with the Nationals this year for its first season sweep of an NL opponent in the franchise’s 14-year history. The Rockies matched their season high of four straight victories and are looking to win five in a row for the first time since July 2-6, 2004.
Holliday is batting .400 (26-for-65) with five home runs and 23 RBIs in his last 16 games, and Atkins is hitting .478 (33-for-69) with four homers, eight doubles and 17 RBIs in his last 18 contests.
“They’re making their presence known wherever we play,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. “There’s no doubt, they’re a pretty formidable three and four. You can crunch their numbers together and put them up there and they’re impressive.”
Denny Bautista makes his first start for the Rockies when he takes the mound on Tuesday. Bautista was acquired from Kansas City on July 31, but has not pitched in the majors since June 6.
The right-hander went 0-2 with a 5.66 ERA in eight games for the Royals this season.
San Francisco counters with rookie Jonathan Sanchez (3-0, 1.42), who makes his second career start.
Sanchez made 22 relief appearances earlier in the year, but was sent down to Triple-A Fresno on July 29. The left-hander was recalled Sept. 1, and allowed one run and three hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 3-2 win at Cincinnati on Wednesday.
“I just wanted to get ahead of the hitters,” Sanchez said. “It’s just like going in in relief; you’ve got to throw strikes.”