The Colorado lineup has come alive over the last two weeks. Now the Rockies hope to use their bats to earn their first sweep at PNC Park when they conclude their three-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday.
The Rockies (47-46) have won eight of their last 11 games, while averaging 7.4 runs and batting .326. They recorded 14 hits on Tuesday - at least one by each starter - to beat Pittsburgh 6-2.
“We’re definitely hitting the ball right now,” said Colorado catcher Yorvit Torrealba, who is batting .455 (15-for-33) during an eight-game hitting streak. “Guys like myself who weren’t hitting earlier in the year are starting to hit the ball better and better, and that makes a big difference.”
By winning the first two games against Pittsburgh (40-53), the Rockies have already earned their first series win in nine tries at PNC Park. Now they’ll go for the sweep and try to hand the Pirates their season-high sixth straight loss.
“When you only have two base runners after the third inning, you’re not putting yourself in a very good position, obviously, to win,” said Pittsburgh manager Jim Tracy said, whose team managed only five hits Tuesday. “We didn’t mount any kind of a threat offensively beyond the first inning.”
The Pirates may have trouble getting back on track against Colorado starter Jeff Francis (9-5, 4.15 ERA), who is 8-1 with a 3.35 ERA in his last 12 starts.
The left-hander is also 4-0 in his last six starts, despite giving up six earned runs in three of those outings. He allowed six runs and seven hits, including three homers, over five innings in a 10-6 win over Milwaukee on Friday.
“I don’t know how many runs we’ve scored per game the last two weeks, but I’ll tell you what, for pitchers it’s great. For the whole team, it’s great,” said Francis, who is 2-2 with an 8.02 ERA in four career starts versus the Pirates.
Pittsburgh’s rotation has posted an 8.63 ERA during the team’s five-game skid while allowing opponents to hit .350. The Pirates will hope for a better showing from Ian Snell (7-6, 3.11).
The right-hander is 6-2 with a 2.40 ERA in nine home starts this season and is 5-0 in his last six outings at PNC Park. To keep that going, he’ll have to bounce back from a 9-1 defeat at Atlanta on Friday.
He gave up seven runs - four earned - and eight hits, including three homers, over five innings in the loss.
“It was horrible,” Snell told the Pirates’ official Web site. “(I was) just getting tired. My legs weren’t under me.”
Snell is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in two career games versus the Rockies.