The Colorado Rockies knew they'd have to undergo quite a transformation in the second half of the season if they were to have a chance to make some noise in the NL West.
After three games, they're on the right track.The Rockies will look to complete a four-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday at Coors Field, where they've won eight of their last nine games.Colorado (42-57) went into the All-Star break having lost four straight, including a pair of shutouts as they were swept on the road last weekend by the New York Mets.But the Rockies have been home to start the second half, and their offense has come alive. Though Coors Field isn't as synonymous with producing high run totals as it used to be, Colorado has certainly found its home park to be hitter friendly lately.The Rockies have scored 70 runs in nine home games since July 1, winning eight times. They jumped on Pirates starter Yoslan Herrera early on Saturday, scoring five first-inning runs en route to a 7-1 victory.Colorado is now within seven games of first-place Arizona in the division."It's only three games. This pendulum swings big both ways," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We've got to focus on the game (Sunday). We won the series; that was objective No. 1. We're in a good place."Not only have the Rockies been scoring lately, they also haven't let Pittsburgh -- which came into the series fourth in the NL in runs -- do any damage offensively.The Pirates have scored six total runs in three games in Colorado, and have now lost six straight on the road while scoring a total of 14 runs."There is no magic button, there's nothing you can say or do, you just have to go out and do it," said second baseman Freddy Sanchez, who had three of Pittsburgh's eight hits on Saturday. "You have to keep battling. That's what we're trying to do right now."The Pirates' offensive woes wouldn't seem to get any easier on Sunday against All-Star Aaron Cook (11-6, 3.57 ERA).Cook has been up and down in his last three home starts, however. He pitched a shutout against San Diego on July 1, but gave up six runs over seven innings in a loss before that.His latest start at Coors Field didn't go well either. Cook allowed seven runs and 11 hits over 7 1-3 on July 6 against Florida.The right-hander gave up one run in six innings on July 11 at New York, not factoring in the decision, then pitched three scoreless innings for the NL in Tuesday's All-Star game. He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the 10th inning, though the NL eventually lost 4-3 in 15."He did an unbelievable job," fellow Rockies All-Star Matt Holliday told the team's official Web site. "When you have that kind of a sinker, you've always got a chance."Cook is 0-1 with a 5.84 ERA in two lifetime starts versus the Pirates.Pittsburgh, which has the worst ERA in the majors (5.26), will counter with Zach Duke (4-6, 4.40). The left-hander had been one of the team's few consistent starters, but he's been hit hard in his last two starts, going 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA.Duke gave up 10 hits and five runs over six innings in a 6-0 loss to St. Louis on July 11.He's 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two career starts against the Rockies.