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Rockies look to continue holding Pirates at bay in series finale

May 9, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Colorado Rockies left fielder Jurickson Profar (29) celebrates with teammates after hitting a two run home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the seventh inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The series is up for grabs Wednesday when the Pittsburgh Pirates and visiting Colorado Rockies meet.

The Rockies would seem to have the momentum after evening the series on Tuesday with a 10-1 pasting of the Pirates.

While Pittsburgh got a gem from Mitch Keller in the series opener, a complete-game 2-0 shutout, Colorado has gotten solid pitching in the series, allowing just three runs through the first two games.

Now the Rockies turn it over to right-hander Antonio Senzatela (0-1, 1.80 ERA), who is scheduled to start opposite Pittsburgh left-hander Rich Hill (3-3, 4.54).

Already without starters German Marquez (Tommy John surgery) and Noah Davis (elbow inflammation), Colorado seems poised to get a solid replacement in Senzatela.

He will be making his second start after he missed the beginning of the season because of a torn left ACL he sustained last August.

Senzatela’s first outing back was easily defined as a success despite taking a loss. He gave up one run, on a homer, in five innings on Friday against the New York Mets, but got no offensive support in a 1-0 Colorado setback.

“I made one mistake, and it cost me the game, but I think we really played a good game,” Senzatela said.

Senzatela said fatigue set in after five innings and 69 pitches, but he called it “a good step,” and he could build on that against Pittsburgh.

“I thought Senzatela pitched great,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “I liked the fact that he really mixed his pitches well. The changeup was great. Slider was solid. The fastball, from my vantage point, looked as though he was moving the ball in and out.”

Even the guy who hit the homer off him was complimentary.

“I mean, he’s just good,” the Mets’ Brandon Nimmo said of Senzatela. “I’ve faced him for a long time now. He angles his fastball in well. He pitches his changeup off of it well with the lefties and can go with his off-speed to both sides of the plate, and I think he does a good job reading swings on whether he should use his cutter or his two-seam or go straight to the off-speed.”

Against the Pirates, Senzatela is 0-2 with a 13.50 ERA in three career appearances (two starts).

Senzatela will be facing a team that has lost eight of its past nine games and has managed just 12 runs over those nine games.

“This sounds really elementary, but we need a hit,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said. “We need that hit to break it open.

“It’s something that we’re focusing on, talking about, but we need a couple balls to get in the outfield grass that kind of relieves that pressure a little bit.”

Hill had won three starts in a row before Friday, when he allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings against Toronto.

One area Hill has shored up is the long ball. He gave up seven homers over his first four starts, and now has coughed up one over his past three outings.

Against the Rockies, Hill is 2-4 with a 5.11 ERA in eight career starts. That includes a win April 17, when he gave up one run in six innings.

–Field Level Media

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