The Colorado Rockies went into the All-Star break in one of their worst offensive funks of the season, but things have been much better since opening the second half of the season at home.
The Rockies look to win for the eighth time in nine games at Coors Field on Saturday when they continue their four-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, losers of five straight on the road.Colorado (41-57) lost five of seven games on a road trip to Milwaukee and New York leading up to the All-Star break, scoring only two runs during a four-game skid. The Rockies are a major league-worst 14-36 on the road, but have gotten their offense back on track at hitter-friendly Coors Field.After beating the Pirates (44-52) 5-3 in Thursday's series opener, the Rockies won 5-2 on Friday, improving to 7-1 at Coors this month.Colorado's offense has been powering the recent home surge, scoring 63 runs and hitting 19 homers in the last eight games at Coors. The Rockies hit three home runs on Friday, including an inside-the-park homer by pinch-hitter Seth Smith in the seventh inning."When I hit it I was thinking double, and when it hit the wall I was thinking triple," Smith said of his second homer of the season. "When I got to third I was hoping I wouldn't trip over it."All-Star Matt Holliday and Brad Hawpe each hit their 15th homer of the season Friday. Holliday has been a big part of Colorado's latest home success, going 8-for-23 (.348) with four home runs and 11 RBIs in his last five at Coors.Holliday and the Rockies look to continue their offensive outburst against Pittsburgh's Yoslan Herrera (0-0, 12.46 ERA), who is coming off a shaky major league debut.Last Saturday, Herrera allowed six runs, 11 hits and four walks in 4 1-3 innings of a 12-11, 10-inning victory over St. Louis."I think he's got good stuff," Pirates manager John Russell told the team's official Web site. "I was very intrigued by what I saw."The right-handed Herrera is taking the place in the rotation of Phil Dumatrait, who is on the disabled list with a shoulder injury.Pittsburgh lost its fifth straight road game Friday, and has dropped nine of its last 11 away from PNC Park. The Pirates are trying to avoid matching a season-high six-game road skid set from April 15-29.Pittsburgh's offense has struggled mightily during its road slide, scoring 13 runs while batting .202. All-Star Nate McLouth, who was hitless in four at-bats Friday, is batting .190 (4-for-21) in his last five away from PNC Park.McLouth hopes to get back on track against Colorado's Jorge De La Rosa (3-5, 7.26), who is coming off a rough outing.De La Rosa was tagged for seven run and nine hits in 3 2-3 innings of an 11-1 loss at Milwaukee on July 10, the second time in three starts the left-hander yielded at least six runs.All of De La Rosa's wins this season have come at home, but that's primarily because of his offense. He has a 7.26 ERA in his six home starts, but has received an average of 9.87 runs of support in those games.In his only career start against the Pirates on May 30, 2006, De La Rosa was pounded for six runs and seven hits in three innings of a 12-1 loss for Milwaukee.