Giants-Rockies Preview

DENVER -- The Colorado Rockies will try to reach a milestone Saturday when they seek their third straight win in their series with the San Francisco Giants.

A 10-9 victory Thursday followed by Friday's 10-8 win gave the Rockies seven straight wins over the Giants and eight in nine games this season. Seven consecutive wins equal the most the Rockies have had against any National League West opponent.

Colorado won seven straight against the Arizona Diamondbacks from July 23-Sept. 13, 2004, and seven in a row against the Los Angeles Dodgers from Sept. 8-27, 2007.

Left-hander Kyle Freeland (7-4, 3.57) will start for the Rockies against Matt Cain (3-5, 5.22), who has struggled on the road.

Cain will be making his 39th career start against the Rockies, the most by any pitcher in major league history. He is 17-10 with a 3.52 ERA overall against Colorado and 6-4 with a 4.61 ERA in 18 games (17 starts) at Coors Field.

In his last start Sunday, Cain received a no-decision in the Giants' 13-8 win against Minnesota. He allowed five runs on seven hits and three walks with one strikeout in 4 1/3 innings.

Despite that outing at AT&T Park, Cain is 3-2 with a 2.77 ERA in seven starts at home. He has struggled on the road, going 0-3 with an 8.40 ERA in six starts.

Cain, 32, ranks 13th among active players with 2,030 1/3 innings pitched and is changing his style as he gets older and his velocity dips.

"Your variations of speed have to stay the same," Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti said. "For five, six years, he was probably pitching in the 92-93 (mph) range. When it drops to 88 (mph), that's five miles.

"He had to slow down his curve and change. He tries to utilize different speeds on everything, no question about it. It'll be interesting to see how he does the whole year. It's been tremendous at home until the last game. He's had a tough time on the road."

Freeland is 3-3 with a 3.50 ERA in six career starts at Coors Field. His lone start against the Giants was at AT&T Park on April 23, when Freeland pitched six shutout innings. In his last start Monday at Pittsburgh, Freeland gave up five runs (four earned) in 5 2/3 innings on a career-high nine hits with two walks and three strikeouts and took the loss as the Rockies fell 7-1.

In Friday's victory, Colorado center fielder Charlie Blackmon went 2-for-5 with a double, triple and one RBI to raise his average to .330 in 69 games and his major league-leading hit total to 94. Blackmon could join seven other players in franchise history who have collected 200 hits in a season. And Blackmon could approach the single-season franchise record of 217 hits set by Dante Bichette in 1998.

The last Rockies player with 200 hits was Matt Holliday with 216 in 2007. Others in the 200-hit club include Todd Helton with 216 hits in 2000 and 209 hits in 2003, Ellis Burks (211, 1996), Larry Walker (208, 1997), Vinny Castilla (206, 1998) and Juan Pierre (201, 2001).

"If I get 200 hits, I'm going to want to get 201," Blackmon said, "so that's just an arbitrary number. I'm not going to say I don't want 200 hits, but it's not something I set out to do."
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