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Major League Baseball
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Pittsburgh at Colorado
When: 8:10 PM ET, Saturday, July 22, 2017
Where: Coors Field, Denver, Colorado

After taking a big bite out of Milwaukee's lead in the National League Central, the Pittsburgh Pirates have turned their attention to whittling down their deficit in the NL wild-card race as they visit the Colorado Rockies on Saturday for the middle contest of their three-game series. Pittsburgh is within two games of the slumping Brewers in the Central and 6 1/2 back of Colorado for the second wild card after routing the Rockies 13-5 on Friday for its season-high sixth straight victory.

The Pirates (49-48), who swept four contests from Milwaukee earlier this week, have picked up six games on the Brewers in six days after winning for the ninth time in their last 10 at Coors Field. The Rockies (56-42), who had a four-game winning streak that came on the heels of a 5-15 stretch snapped Friday, are 5 1/2 games clear of the Chicago Cubs for the second wild card. They also have a red-hot hitter in Nolan Arenado, who has belted four home runs in his last two games, is 11-for-20 with 12 RBIs and nine runs scored in his past five contests and leads the major leagues with 82 RBIs. Colorado's German Marquez already owns a victory over Pittsburgh this season and opposes Chad Kuhl, who makes his Coors Field debut riding a six-start unbeaten streak (2-0) which began after a loss to Marquez and the Rockies and hopes to help the Pirates to their 13th victory in their last 15 games.

TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, AT&T SportsNet-Pittsburgh, AT&T SportsNet-Rocky Mountain (Colorado)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Pirates RH Chad Kuhl (3-6, 4.85 ERA) vs. Rockies RH German Marquez (7-4, 4.34)

Kuhl settled for a no-decision after striking out a career-high seven and allowing two runs, four hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings of Pittsburgh's 4-2 victory over Milwaukee on Monday. The 24-year-old Delaware native, who boasts a 3.41 ERA over his last six turns, is 2-2 with a 3.69 ERA in nine road outings this season.
Kuhl lost his only start versus Colorado, yielding three runs in five innings of a 5-1 loss on June 14.

Marquez permitted three runs, eight hits and two walks while matching a career high with nine strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings of a 9-6 victory over San Diego on Monday. The 22-year-old Venezuelan has been consistent both home and away, going 4-2 with a 4.57 ERA in seven starts at Coors Field compared to 3-2, 4.08 in eight road turns. Marquez allowed one run and four hits over five innings in his only start against the Pirates.

WALK-OFFS

1. Pittsburgh RF Gregory Polanco (.387 batting average in July) departed Friday's game with a left hamstring injury and is listed as day-to-day. Polanco went on the 10-day disabled list in May because of the same injury.

2. Rockies CF Charlie Blackmon went 0-for-3 with a walk and run scored Friday, snapping his career high-tying 14-game hitting streak.

3. Pirates rookie 1B Josh Bell recorded a career-high four hits and matched a personal best with four RBIs on Friday after going 4-for-21 in his previous six games.

PREDICTION: Pirates 9, Rockies 8
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Pittsburgh 49-48 W6 27-23 22-25 19-11 20-19 6-11 4-7
Colorado 56-42 L1 29-19 27-23 5-6 15-10 29-21 7-5
Last Meeting
Pittsburgh Colorado
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
7/21/17 PIT 13 COL 5 .429 1 1.205 .273 1 .769
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Pittsburgh J. Bell .462 6 1.226
Colorado T. Story .308 4 .708
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Pittsburgh A. McCutchen 2 6 7
Colorado I. Desmond 1 3 1
Pitching ERA Avg K
Pittsburgh 3.50 .319 31
Colorado 6.62 .246 22
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Pittsburgh A. McCutchen .294 101 .892
Colorado C. Blackmon .327 129 .992
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Pittsburgh A. McCutchen 17 61 56
Colorado C. Blackmon 23 83 67
Pitching ERA Avg K
Pittsburgh 4.08 .247 733
Colorado 4.69 .275 769