Cincinnati (63-76) at Colorado (80-60)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Denver, CO
Temp: 57° F
  • Game info: 3:10 pm EDT Thu Sep 10, 2009
  • TV: FSRM
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Jose Contreras(notes) was hoping a change of scenery in Colorado would help turn his dismal season around. So far it’s worked.

The veteran right-hander looks to build off a stellar debut with his new club while trying to help the wild-card leading Rockies to a seventh straight victory and series sweep of the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday at Coors Field.

Acquired in a trade with the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 31, Contreras (1-0, 1.35 ERA) allowed one run, eight hits and struck out five in 6 2-3 innings of a 4-1 win over Arizona on Saturday.

The performance was a relief for the 37-year-old Contreras, who was 5-13 with a 5.42 ERA in 21 starts for the White Sox this season.

“It was very important to make an impression on my teammates and also because I struggled in Chicago,” said Contreras, who will continue to fill in for the injured Aaron Cook(notes).

Contreras, who’s 1-1 with a 4.74 ERA in three career starts against Cincinnati, has a chance to help the Rockies (80-60) extend their wild-card lead of four games over San Francisco, which is idle Thursday.

“It’s never say die here,” Rockies pitcher Jason Hammel(notes) said. “I honestly don’t believe we understand how much pressure is there right now and I don’t think we even care.”

Seth Smith(notes) hit a two-out, two-run single in the ninth inning to give Colorado a 4-3 win Wednesday over Cincinnati (63-76), which is winless in the four-game set after taking a season-high seven-game winning streak into the series.

The Rockies have won eight in a row and 13 of 14 over the Reds.

Smith is batting .471 with four homers and 13 RBIs in the last nine games for the Rockies, who are 8-1 heading into the finale of their 10-game homestand.

Colorado could get more help if infielders Troy Tulowitzki(notes) and Ian Stewart(notes) return after missing the past two games since tweaking their backs in a 4-3 win over the Reds on Monday. Tulowitzki leads the team with 24 homers and Stewart has 23.

“They’re both coming along very, very nicely,” manager Jim Tracy said. “We’ll see where we’re at, but there is the possibility we could have both of those guys back (Thursday).”

The Rockies face Kip Wells(notes) (1-3, 4.85), who is coming off his first victory in over a year.

Wells, who went 1-2 with 5.27 ERA in 15 games for Colorado in 2008, is 1-0 with a 2.65 ERA in three starts for Cincinnati. He pitched six-innings of one-hit ball in a 3-1 win at Atlanta on Saturday, for his first win since April 17, 2008.

“I knew I didn’t have a win this season so far. Obviously it’s good to get a win any time,” Wells said. “I was trying to stay within myself.”

The right-hander is 0-2 with a 6.28 ERA in five starts against Colorado.

Scott Rolen(notes) hit his second homer Wednesday for the Reds, whose three losses in the series have been decided by four runs.

Rolen, batting .278 with 10 RBIs in 21 games since being acquired from Toronto, is 0 for 7 lifetime against Contreras.

Cincinnati slugger Joey Votto(notes) went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts Wednesday and is 3 for 34 in his last 10 contests, dropping his average to .296 after spending all but the last two games of the year hitting over .300.

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Starting Pitchers

K. Wells LAA vs. J. Contreras Tex
2-5 Record 6-13
5.33 ERA 4.92
43 K 106
40 BB 53
1.38 WHIP 1.47

Scoreboard

Thursday, Sep 10