San Francisco (59-79) at Colorado (66-74)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Denver, CO
Temp: 69° F
  • Game info: 3:05 pm EDT Wed Sep 3, 2008
  • TV: CSBA
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Maybe the Colorado Rockies should convince themselves it’s September all season long.

With a second consecutive late run to the postseason appearing more realistic by the day, the Rockies seek to complete a three-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants as the NL West rivals conclude their series Wednesday afternoon at Coors Field.

Colorado (66-74) went 20-8 in September last season, including wins in 13 of its final 14 games to force a one-game wild-card playoff with San Diego. The Rockies won that contest, and eventually captured the NL pennant before falling to Boston in the World Series.

This year’s Rockies were nine games out of the NL West lead as recently as Aug. 23, and lost three of their last four games in August, but have opened September with consecutive wins over the Giants (59-79) to move within five games of Arizona for first place in baseball’s weakest division. Second-place Los Angeles is 1 1/2 games behind the Diamondbacks.

Colorado needed 12 innings to beat slumping San Francisco on Tuesday, but won 6-5 when Ryan Spilborghs singled home Omar Quintanilla.

“We’re right about where we were last year, ready for another crazy run,” Spilborghs said.

Randy Winn and Omar Vizquel had three hits each for the Giants, who have lost five straight games and seven of their last eight.

“You don’t like to lose. Ever,” said San Francisco closer Brian Wilson, who surrendered Tuesday’s winning hit to Spilborghs. “We haven’t given up. That’s what makes it so tough to lose.”

Wednesday’s pitching matchup appears to present a great opportunity to sweep for the Rockies, who send 16-game winner Aaron Cook to the mound to face San Francisco’s 16-game loser Barry Zito.

Cook (16-8, 3.88 ERA) has been battling a tight lower back in recent weeks, but lasted six innings for the first time in five starts Friday, allowing two runs and six hits to earn a 9-4 victory at San Diego.

“I’ve been working hard to physically get back to where I need to be,” Cook said.

The Rockies have won the right-handed sinkerballer’s last three starts despite his ailment. Cook is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts this season versus San Francisco, although he’s given up nine hits or more in each of those outings.

While Cook has already nearly doubled his previous career high of nine wins, Zito (8-16, 5.62) continues to endure a nightmarish season. The left-hander is trying to avoid becoming the Giants’ first 17-game loser since 1985, when Dave LaPoint finished 7-17 for a club that lost 100 games.

Zito matched his season high by allowing eight runs - seven earned - Friday at Cincinnati, where he lasted only 3 1-3 innings of an 11-7 defeat.

Despite playing in the same division, Zito has yet to face the Rockies in 2008. He’s 1-1 with a 2.73 ERA in five career starts versus Colorado.

A couple of Rockies stalwarts have struggled against Zito in the past. Matt Holliday is 3-for-16 (.188) versus the southpaw, while Garrett Atkins is 2-for-13 (.154).

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Starting Pitchers

B. Zito SF vs. A. Cook Col
10-17 Record 16-9
5.15 ERA 3.96
120 K 96
102 BB 48
1.60 WHIP 1.34

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Sep 3