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Pirates-Rockies Preview

Pittsburgh Pirates' Starling Marte points to Aramis Ramirez after he singled to drive in Marte against the Colorado Rockies in the ninth inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, in Denver. Pittsburgh won 9-3. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Photo:

Pittsburgh Pirates' Starling Marte points to Aramis Ramirez after he singled to drive in Marte against the Colorado Rockies in the ninth inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, in Denver. Pittsburgh won 9-3. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Pittsburgh Pirates and Colorado Rockies were scheduled to have off days at home Thursday. That plan went awry in late April and created much more of a hardship for the Pirates.

After their 6-5 loss in 10 innings to the New York Mets on Wednesday night, the Pirates flew to Denver for a Thursday afternoon game with the Rockies. The clubs are making up the final game of a four-game series that was postponed April 28 due to inclement weather.

On Thursday night, the Pirates will return to Pittsburgh to complete their nine-game homestand, which resumes with a Friday night game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Rockies, meanwhile, flew to Denver on Wednesday night after a 1-0 win over the Dodgers in Los Angeles, and they will play their next six games at home.

The Pirates won the first three games of the series in April, giving them eight straight victories at Coors Field.

Left-hander Jeff Locke, Pittsburgh's scheduled Thursday starter, has a 3.75 ERA in four starts at Coors Field, including an outing April 25 in which he pitched six scoreless innings during Pittsburgh's 6-1 win.

Locke has been very good lately. He threw a three-hit shutout May 30 at Miami for his first career complete game and shutout in a 10-0 win. In his last start, Locke gave up three runs in seven innings against the Los Angeles Angels and won 8-7.

Locke is 5-3 with a 4.28 ERA in 11 starts overall. He has won his past four starts while posting a 2.76 ERA in that stretch.

Chad Bettis, the Rockies' Thursday starter, is going in the opposite direction. He opposed Locke in that April 25 game and gave up four runs in 6 2/3 innings.

Bettis, who is 4-5 with a 5.58 ERA in 12 starts, was the Rockies' most effective starter early in the season but has struggled lately. In his past three starts, he is 0-3 with an 11.48 ERA, having allowed 25 hits, including five homers, in that stretch. Bettis flew home ahead of his teammates Wednesday.

Rockies shortstop Trevor Story did not play Wednesday night at Los Angeles. He struck out four times Tuesday -- his second four-strikeout game of the season -- but Colorado manager Walt Weiss said that performance had nothing to do with keeping Story on the bench the next day for just the third time this season.

"I had already planned before the series that he wasn't going to play tonight, with the quick turnaround tomorrow," Weiss said before the Wednesday night's game, according to the Denver Post.

The 1-0 win Wednesday night enabled the Rockies to finish a 3-3 road trip, take two of three from the Dodgers and break a string of six consecutive series losses since they swept three games from the Mets at Coors Field from May 13-15.

Right fielder Carlos Gonzalez became the first Colorado player ever to strike out 10 times in any series and the first to fan four times in consecutive games.

Pirates left fielder Starling Marte sustained a left ankle contusion when he ran into the wall Sunday chasing a ball. He left Game 1 of a Tuesday doubleheader in the seventh inning when the ankle flared up. Marte didn't play in Game 2, wasn't in the lineup Wednesday but pinch-hit and lined out in the eighth inning.

Pirates left fielder Gregory Polanco continued his offensive surge Wednesday, going 3-for-5 with an RBI and three doubles, giving him a National League-leading 21 two-baggers for the season. All three of his doubles Wednesday went off the right field wall at PNC Park, and two were on 99 and 98 mph fastballs from Mets starter Noah Syndergaard.

After hitting .317 in May, Polanco is batting .345 (29-for-84) this month.

"Special to watch him tonight," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said, according to MLB.com. "He's doing some things that grab your attention. The doubles, even the outs (are hit hard). The balls coming off the bat, finishing swings. They've been pretty."

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