Pirates-Rockies Preview

Charlie Morton

Very little has been going wrong lately for the Pittsburgh Pirates, whose record hit a new high point in their latest game as last year's ace pitched like one for the second straight time.

The same can't be said for the Colorado Rockies, though they did manage to snap a seven-game skid their last time out.

Three of those losses came at Pittsburgh to close out last week, and the Pirates will try for a repeat performance as they seek a sixth win in seven games Friday night at Coors Field.

Pittsburgh (54-47) moved seven games over .500 for the first time this season with a 6-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, giving it five wins on a six-game homestand.

Travis Snider and Josh Harrison, filling in for the injured Starling Marte and Pedro Alvarez, combined to go 4 for 7, score three runs and drive in three.

"That's the Pirates," Harrison told MLB's official website. "We're tough. We're not going to give you easy outs."

Marte was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion, while Alvarez sat out with a sore left knee after tweaking it running the bases Tuesday. He was available as a pinch-hitter Wednesday and could return for this game.

"Any time - no matter who's in the lineup - we're looking to win series after series," said Snider, 4 for 7 in the last two games.

A resurgent Francisco Liriano has helped breed confidence for his teammates with two consecutive strong starts, as he went seven innings and gave up one run Wednesday. Charlie Morton (5-9, 3.28 ERA) is also looking for a second straight bounce-back effort as he faces Colorado for the second straight time.

The right-hander rebounded from a rough performance against Cincinnati on July 12 by throwing seven innings of two-run ball in a 3-2, 11-inning victory Saturday. Morton, who has given up two or fewer earned runs in nine of his last 11 starts, is 2-0 with a 3.16 ERA in five career starts against the Rockies.

Though Pittsburgh rolled through its homestand, it's about to embark on a season high-tying 10-game trip. Despite their surge, the Pirates have gone 2-6 in their last eight away from PNC Park.

Their last visit to Coors didn't go well either, as they were swept in three games while being outscored 19-7 from Aug. 9-11.

Left-hander Brett Anderson (0-3, 4.00) will try to get this three-game series off to a strong start after a solid pitching performance brought the Rockies' losing streak to an end with Sunday's 6-4 win. Jorge De La Rosa struck out a season-high 11 and pitched into the eighth inning and the wobbly Colorado bullpen held off Washington's late rally, with LaTroy Hawkins getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth.

Rockies relievers have posted a 9.93 ERA and gone 0 for 3 in save opportunities in the last eight games.

One of the blown saves came Saturday, when Anderson opposed Morton and left with a 2-1 lead after throwing seven innings and striking out eight with one walk.

Last-place Colorado (41-60) continues to play without injured sluggers Justin Morneau and Troy Tulowitzki - both of whom went on the disabled list this week - as well as Michael Cuddyer.

"We all know where we're at," manager Walt Weiss said. "And how tough it's been. ... It's tough to have fun. But they're still trying to find a way to enjoy being out there and competing and not lose sight of that."

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