The Rockies look to continue their sizzling offensive play and hand the Devil Rays another lopsided loss when the teams continue their three-game interleague set on Saturday at Coors Field.
Colorado (34-33) defeated Tampa Bay 12-2 in Friday’s series opener, to move a game over .500 for the first time since April 9. It hasn’t been two games over the break-even mark since it was 3-1 on April 6.
The Rockies have won five of their last six games, and have outscored their opponents 31-5 during a three-game winning streak, including two lopsided victories over the major league-leading Boston Red Sox.
“We have a lot of guys swinging the bats really well right now,” left fielder Matt Holliday said.
Holliday had two doubles, a single and four RBIs on Friday, and is batting .571 (8-for-14) with a homer, four doubles and six RBIs over the last three games.
Third baseman Garrett Atkins is 5-for-13 with two homers and seven RBIs during the winning streak.
While Colorado has been surging, Tampa Bay (29-36) has been outscored 28-3 during a three-game skid, which comes on the heels of a stretch of seven wins in nine games.
Carl Crawford is hitless in 13 at-bats during the losing streak, as his average has dropped 15 points to .287.
Tampa Bay rookie Andy Sonnanstine (1-0, 5.14 ERA) looks for another strong outing when he makes his third major league start on Saturday.
Sonnanstine was knocked around for six runs in seven innings in his major league debut against Toronto on June 5, but looked sharp in his second start, giving up two runs and seven hits while striking out 10 in a 6-4 win over Florida on Sunday.
Seventy-one of his 99 pitches were strikes, and at one point he struck out seven straight batters - one shy of the AL record.
The 24-year-old right-hander has displayed outstanding accuracy, striking out 15 while walking none in 14 innings.
“He has an ability to throw something other than a fastball when he gets behind,” Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon told the team’s official Web site. “He knows how to elevate the ball when he wants to. He’s a pitcher. He studies his craft and he knows what he is doing. He’s shows a lot of young pitchers that you don’t have to be gun favorable to pitch in the major leagues.”
Colorado counters with Jason Hirsh (3-6, 4.48), who looks to build off the best game of his two-year major league career.
After losing his previous five decisions, Hirsh allowed one run, five hits, one walk and struck out two while pitching his first career complete game, a 6-1 win over Baltimore on Sunday.
The 25-year-old right-hander now tries for his first win at home since April 22. Hirsh is 0-4 with a 6.07 ERA in his last five outings at Coors Field.