Rockies try to stay hot offensively vs. Pirates

The Colorado Rockies took out their frustrations from a recent road trip on the NL Central-leading Pittsburgh Pirates.

Following their best offensive showing in almost two months, the Rockies try to lock up a series win on Saturday night when they resume a three-game set with the Pirates.

Returning to Coors Field following a 1-9 trek, the Rockies pounded out 16 hits on Friday and scored all of their runs in the first three innings to cruise to a 10-1 victory.

Colorado had plated just 15 runs total over its previous nine games and had its best offensive performance since a 10-5 win over Philadelphia on June 15.

Wilin Rosario hit a two-run homer and drove in four runs, while Michael Cuddyer had a pair of hits with three RBI while scoring twice. Nolan Arenado went 3-for-4 and drove in a run to help snap the Rockies' five-game losing streak.

Jorge De La Rosa benefited from the offensive output and survived some early trouble. Despite loading the bases in both the first and second inning, he allowed just one run and was able to log five innings of work.

"The game could have went either way early," said Rockies manager Walt Weiss. "That's a great job of minimizing some damage there. For me, that was the game right there."

Jordy Mercer plated Pittsburgh's only run with a sacrifice fly in the second inning as the Pirates had their five-game winning streak snapped, though they remained four games ahead of St. Louis for first place in the division.

Francisco Liriano had a rare rough outing this season and it was a bad one. He allowed 10 runs on 12 hits -- both career highs -- and was lifted after 2 1/3 innings. He came into the game having given up a total of 10 runs in his previous eight starts.

"This is the big leagues, and every once in a while you have those kind of nights, unfortunately," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle told his team's website. "Nobody likes it; he doesn't like it. But it can happen, and that's why there's nights when you just flush it. You don't psychoanalyze it, you don't overcook it; we're not going to look at tape, we're not going to go anywhere with that."

Hurdle hopes that Coors Field doesn't cause A.J. Burnett to lose his consistency as the righty makes the start off his 23rd career complete game.

Burnett faced the Rockies in Pittsburgh last Sunday and held Colorado to a run on eight hits and a walk while fanning nine. It marked the seventh straight start he has allowed two earned runs or fewer, but was just his second victory in that span.

"This was his best game of the season," Hurdle said of the 36-year-old Burnett, who moved to 5-7 with a 2.73 earned run average in 20 starts this year and evened his lifetime mark versus the Rockies at 3-3 with a 2.58 ERA in six meetings.

Juan Nicasio took the loss against Burnett and looks to rebound tonight.

The righty had allowed just one run and four walks in his first three starts following a demotion to the minors in late June, but has since allowed 12 runs, 16 hits and walked six in consecutive losses.

Versus the Pirates, Nicasio was charged with four runs over 4 1/3 innings, leaving the game down 2-0 before the bullpen gave up some more runs.

"(Nicasio) kept the game close," Weiss said. "He grinded."

The 26-year-old is 6-6 with a 5.05 ERA in 21 starts this season and 0-1 with a 4.09 ERA in two lifetime encounters with the Pirates.

Including taking two of three at home from the Rockies last weekend, the Pirates have won seven of the past 11 encounters in this series.