Atkins looks to extend the longest current hitting streak in the majors to 15 games on Wednesday and may have to switch positions as the Rockies complete a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants.
Colorado (11-16) ended a four-game skid Tuesday with a 3-2 victory as Atkins had a double in three at-bats to extend his hitting streak. He’s batting .375 (24-for-64) with five homers and 15 RBIs during his run, and a team-high .330 overall.
The question is whether Atkins will be at third base on Wednesday afternoon. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki left Tuesday’s game in the first inning with a strained left quadriceps muscle, necessitating a series of unusual defensive changes by the defending NL champions.
Clint Barmes moved from second to shortstop. Atkins moved from third to make his major league debut at second base, while Chris Iannetta entered the game to play third for the first time in his big league career.
It’s unclear what manager Clint Hurdle will do with his infield in the series finale.
On Tuesday, Iannetta hit a solo home run leading off the second to tie the game at 2. He scored the go-ahead run on a balk by Giants starter Tim Lincecum in the seventh inning as Colorado won for only the second time in 10 games.
“That’s one of the biggest victories I’ve enjoyed during the regular season,” Hurdle said. “It just goes to show when you think you have control, what do you control? At the end of the day, you really don’t.”
San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy was ejected for arguing the disputed balk one night after Hurdle was ejected in Colorado’s 4-0 loss to open this series.
The Rockies’ bullpen has a 1.27 ERA over its last six games, including two hitless innings on Tuesday. Closer Brian Fuentes recorded the last three outs to improve to 15-for-15 in career save chances against San Francisco (12-16).
The Giants are hoping Jonathan Sanchez (2-1, 3.54 ERA) can notch a third straight victory. They have also won four straight starts by Sanchez, including Friday’s 3-1 win over Cincinnati in which he gave up one run and four hits through eight innings.
“I’m where I belong. I belong as a starter,” said Sanchez, who retired 16 straight hitters in one stretch. “I never change anything. I just go out there and compete. I feel relaxed.”
The left-hander is 0-0 with a 9.00 ERA against Colorado in eight career appearances, including one start.
Colorado starter Ubaldo Jimenez (1-2, 6.46) has pitched past the fifth inning just once in his last three starts. Jimenez lasted a season-low 2 1-3 innings and was tagged for six runs in an 8-7, 13-inning loss at the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.
The right-hander is making his second career start against the Giants. He gave up three runs and seven hits over five innings in a 5-3 loss on Sept. 5.