Final

Series: Game 2 of 3

Series tied 1-1 (as of 8/3)

Game 1: Friday, August 2
Colorado4Final
Pittsburgh2
Game 2: Saturday, August 3
Colorado2Final
Pittsburgh5
Game 3: Sunday, August 4
Colorado1Final
Pittsburgh5

Rockies 2

(52-60, 21-34 away)

Pirates 5

(66-44, 37-20 home)

Coverage:  ROOT

7:05 PM ET, August 3, 2013

PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

123456789 R H E
COL 000000020 2 6 0
PIT 00111110 - 5 11 0

W: F. Liriano (12-4)

L: J. De La Rosa (10-6)

S: M. Melancon (6)

Rockies-Pirates Preview

STATS LLC

Francisco Liriano's return to prominence has been one of the reasons the Pittsburgh Pirates have the best pitching staff in baseball.

The veteran left-hander has a chance to continue his outstanding run Saturday night when the Pirates host a Colorado Rockies team that could be without one of the NL's top sluggers.

After winning four of five from St. Louis to take over first place in the NL Central, Pittsburgh (65-44) will attempt to regroup from a 4-2 loss in Friday's series opener. The Pirates, who also dropped the series finale against the Cardinals, are looking to avoid their first three-game skid since July 14-20, bridging the All-Star break.

Troy Tulowitzki went 2 for 3 with his 20th home run to help the Rockies (52-59) end a four-game losing streak.

The Pirates had their lead in the division cut to one-half game when St. Louis beat Cincinnati, but they should feel confident about getting back on track with Liriano (11-4, 2.16 ERA) on the mound.

Pittsburgh tops the major leagues with a 3.10 ERA and Liriano has posted a 1.89 ERA while winning six of his last seven starts.

Since allowing a season-worst five runs over 4 1/3 innings in a 5-3 loss at Cincinnati on July 19, Liriano has struck out 16 while giving up one run and six hits over 14 2/3 innings in consecutive victories.

"It's been a good run for him being able to watch, and that's pretty much what I've been doing," center fielder Andrew McCutchen said. "I don't get a lot of action when he's on the mound. It makes it a lot easier for the defense."

Liriano has been at his best at home, where he's 6-1 with a 1.61 ERA in seven outings. He's struck out 49 and hasn't given up a homer in 44 2/3 innings there.

He'll likely face a short-handed Rockies lineup that has totaled nine runs over the last four games.

Carlos Gonzalez entered in the eighth inning Friday as a defensive replacement but expressed doubt that he'd be ready to return to the lineup for this game. The All-Star left fielder, who ranks among the major league leaders with 26 home runs, has a sprained right middle finger.

The Rockies, though, may get Michael Cuddyer back after he missed Friday's game due to a family emergency. Cuddyer ranks near the top of the majors with a .329 batting average.

Their returns could certainly benefit starter Jorge De La Rosa (10-5, 3.21), who looks to rebound from one of his worst outings of his career. The left-hander allowed eight runs -- five earned -- and 10 hits over five innings in a 9-8, 10-inning loss in Atlanta on Monday.

De La Rosa has gone 0-1 with a 5.31 ERA in four starts in Pittsburgh, though he hasn't pitched there since 2011.

McCutchen went 2 for 4 with a double Friday and is 6 for 16 with a homer in his last four games against the Rockies.

Neil Walker is 7 for 15 over that stretch versus Colorado, while Starling Marte is batting .360 during a seven-game hitting streak at PNC Park.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Gameday Matchup

 ColoradoPittsburgh
W-L74-8894-68
Night47-6264-40
Grass74-8594-68
Current StreakW2W3
Last 105-57-3

Pitching Matchup

ColoradoPittsburgh
J. De La Rosa
16-6, 3.49 ERA

Last Game:
9/10 at SF
2.0 IP, 4 ER
Dec = ND
F. Liriano
16-8, 3.02 ERA

Last Game:
9/25 at CHC
5.0 IP, 4 ER
Dec = Loss

Gameday Lineups

NO.ColoradoPittsburgh
1. D. Fowler, CF S. Marte, LF
2. D. LeMahieu, 2B J. Mercer, SS
3. T. Tulowitzki, SS A. McCutchen, CF
4. M. Cuddyer, 1B G. Sanchez, 1B
5. W. Rosario, C T. Sanchez, C
6. N. Arenado, 3B J. Tabata, RF
7. C. Culberson, LF N. Walker, 2B
8. C. Blackmon, RF J. Harrison, 3B
9. J. De La Rosa, P F. Liriano, P

Research Notes

Michael Cuddyer has hit .359 in at-bats ending in a slider, third highest in the NL among qualified hitters. Francisco Liriano throws his slider 38 percent of the time, fourth highest in MLB among pitchers with at least 15 starts.

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