Pittsburgh (53-70) at Colorado (63-61)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Denver, CO
Temp: 83° F
  • Game info: 9:05 pm EDT Tue Aug 21, 2007
  • TV: FSPI, FSRM
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Freddy Sanchez added to his already impressive numbers against the Colorado Rockies in the opener of the four-game series.

Sanchez now hopes the Pirates will start performing as well against the Rockies as he has as the teams play again Tuesday at Coors Field.

Colorado (63-61) had taken a 2-1 lead in the seventh off shortstop Troy Tulowitzki’s homer, but Pittsburgh’s Josh Phelps homered in the eighth inning to tie the game, and Sanchez drove in the go-ahead run in the 11th, leading the Pirates (53-70) to a 4-2 win Monday.

Mata Kata scored an insurance run on a throwing error by Garrett Atkins as Pittsburgh won its third straight game, and Pirates manager Jim Tracy praised Sanchez afterward.

“Freddy had a great at-bat in the 11th, something he’s done a few times in the past four or five days,” he said.

Sanchez is hitting .412 (28-for-68) lifetime against the Rockies. He has a 16-game hitting streak against them since July 21, 2005, and is hitting .375 (30-for-80) with 18 RBIs in 19 games this month.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak to the Rockies for the Pirates, who also have won seven of their last 11 overall.

With the loss, Colorado fell 3 1/2 games behind San Diego for first place in the NL wild card. The Rockies have lost four of five and seven of 11.

“These losses hurt,” Tulowitzki said. “This loss really hurts.”

Sanchez has a double in three career at-bats in his career off Elmer Dessens (1-1, 7.32 ERA), who will make his second start this season with the Rockies, hoping to get them back on track.

Dessens, who started his career with the Pirates in 1996, was signed to a minor league contract earlier this month and called up last week to start last Thursday against the San Diego Padres. He did not receive a decision after allowing five runs and six hits in 4 2-3 innings of an 11-9 loss.

The right-hander—making his first start since Oct. 2, 2005—threw 74 pitches in his longest outing since pitching five innings against the Padres on June 28, 2005. He is 3-6 with a 4.60 ERA in 11 starts and 11 relief appearances against the Pirates.

Pittsburgh will counter with Tony Armas (2-3, 6.58), who will be making just his fourth start since mid-May. The right-hander was moved to the bullpen after going 0-3 with a 8.46 ERA earlier in the season, but he returned the rotation Aug. 1 and is 2-0 with a 5.40 ERA since.

Armas allowed five runs and six hits while walking five in just 2 2-3 innings on Thursday against the New York Mets, but he escaped without a decision after the Pirates rallied to win 10-7.

“I felt good. I just didn’t do my job,” Armas told the Pirates’ official Web site. “It’s just one night. Things weren’t clicking.”

Armas is 2-2 with a 7.26 ERA in nine starts and one relief appearance against the Rockies. He threw three scoreless innings against them during a July 16 relief appearance, giving up just one hit.

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Starting Pitchers

T. Armas Atl vs. E. Dessens NYM
4-5 Record 2-2
6.03 ERA 7.15
73 K 22
38 BB 12
1.54 WHIP 1.68

Scoreboard

Tuesday, Aug 21