The Rockies look to avoid a fourth consecutive loss at Pittsburgh, and eighth straight overall on the road Friday night.
With a 5 1/2-game deficit and two teams to leapfrog in the wild-card race, Colorado (56-52) needs to make a serious push to reach the postseason. That means winning on the road, where the Rockies are 20-33 and in the midst of their longest losing stretch since dropping 13 straight May 10-June 2, 2008.
“We need to win a bunch of these,” manager Jim Tracy said after a 5-1 loss in Thursday’s series opener. “I’m not going to shy away from that fact.”
The Rockies, who have scored 14 runs in their last seven road games, have lost three of four to the lowly Pirates (38-70) this season and five of seven at PNC Park.
“You’re not going to win too many baseball games when you have one run - it’s that simple,” Tracy said.
Troy Tulowitzki(notes) had an RBI and three of the seven hits Thursday for Colorado, which had scored 46 runs while winning five of six prior to this four-game set. The Rockies have totaled five runs in their three losses to the Pirates in 2010.
Tulowitzki, however, is 6 for 15 with three RBIs against Pittsburgh this season. He is 6 for 8 in his last two games overall.
The left-hander improved to 4-2 and lowered his ERA against Colorado to 6.25 after allowing a pair of home runs over six innings in a 4-2 win at Coors Field on July 27.
Duke wasn’t as successful Sunday, when he gave up six runs in five innings of a 9-1 loss at St. Louis. He had posted a 3.18 ERA while winning two of his previous three starts after missing a month with a strained elbow.
“Obviously, the numbers don’t match up as well as I feel like I pitched,” Duke told the Pirates’ official website. “It’s tough. I’m still going to take the positives from (Sunday) and keep building on it.”
The right-hander is 0-3 with a 5.33 ERA in four starts since the All-Star break. He allowed four runs in 7 1-3 innings of a 6-5 win over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.
Hammel gave up five runs in six innings in his only previous start against Pittsburgh, not factoring in the decision of a 9-7 win June 20, 2009, at Coors Field.
Garrett Jones(notes) and Neil Walker(notes) each had two hits with an RBI in the series opener for the Pirates, who have won two of three after losing five in a row. Jones is 8 for 16 with three home runs and six RBIs against the Rockies this season.