The Colorado Rockies try for a three-game sweep against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday as the team with the worst ERA in baseball (5.01) continues to receive solid pitching. Colorado recorded its second straight 8-1 victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday while recording its third straight quality start and seventh in eight games since the All-Star break. The turnaround is starting to translate into victories as the Rockies have won three consecutive games after losing seven in a row.
The Pirates, who swept the Rockies last weekend with three come-from-behind victories, fell four games behind first-place Milwaukee in the National League Central and 1 1/2 games out of wild-card position. Pittsburgh third baseman Pedro Alvarez did not start for the fourth straight game as he continues to battle a left knee injury while center fielder Andrew McCutchen's slump reached 6-for-30 since the All-Star break after going 0-for-4 on Saturday. Pittsburgh's Edinson Volquez had his four-start winning streak snapped in his last turn and opposes Franklin Morales, who is looking for his first victory of the season against a team outside the NL West.
TV: 4:10 p.m. ET, ROOT (Pittsburgh, Colorado)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Pirates RH Edinson Volquez (8-7, 3.86 ERA) vs. Rockies LH Franklin Morales (5-5, 5.21)
Volquez yielded five runs and a season-high 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday after allowing three runs over 30 innings in his previous four outings. The 31-year-old Dominican Republic native has lost six straight decisions against Colorado and is 3-8 with a 7.80 ERA in 13 starts - including 1-5, 8.45 in eight outings at Coors Field. Carlos Gonzalez (10-for-19, six RBIs) and Wilin Rosario (8-for-20, two homers, nine RBIs) have fared well against Volquez.
Morales permitted four runs (three earned) - all in the third inning - and nine hits while walking four in six frames of a 7-2 loss to Washington on Monday. "Other than (the third inning), he threw the ball well," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said of the 28-year-old Venezuelan. Morales is 4-5 with a 5.40 ERA in 14 starts this season, including 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA in three outings since returning to the rotation after making eight appearances out of the bullpen in June.
1. Colorado 3B Nolan Arenado, who was benched Friday for not hustling while running out a grounder, responded with three hits Saturday - including a home run.
2. Pittsburgh 2B Neil Walker had his 22-game streak of reaching base safely - the longest active run in the majors - snapped Saturday after going 0-for-4.
3. Gonzalez missed Saturday's game after spraining his right ankle at home earlier in the day, and according to manager Walt Weiss, "it's very swollen.''
PREDICTION: Pirates 9, Rockies 8