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COL@PIT: Anderson fans eight over seven strong frames

The Rockies are well aware of what they don't have right now.

RBI machine Justin Morneau went on the disabled list Monday with a neck strain. Four-time All-Star Troy Tulowitzki joined him there Tuesday with a hip flexor strain. Michael Cuddyer has been there for more than a month and a half with a fractured left shoulder.

The Rockies desperately need to capitalize on their offensive opportunities now that some of their superstars are injured. They hope snapping a seven-game losing streak in the finale against the Nationals on Wednesday is a step in the right direction.

After an off-day Thursday, they'll host the Pirates in a three-game series beginning Friday -- the same team that swept the Rockies just one week ago.

Brett Anderson will face the Pirates again, his last start being a 3-2 loss Saturday in Pittsburgh, where he racked up eight strikeouts and scattered just four hits in seven innings for a no-decision.

"I just executed pitches better and was more efficient," Anderson said Saturday. "I think I threw more pitches [110] than I have in two-plus years. But I feel like I battled well and gave us a chance."

Charlie Morton will get the ball for the Pirates. With his dominant sinker, he's not concerned about giving up home runs in Coors Field. He's 1-0 in Colorado and has seven ultra-quality starts to his name. He is 5-9 on the season with a 3.28 ERA, but is winless in his last three starts.

The Pirates have won five of their six games since the All-Star break, including a 6-1 win against the Dodgers on Wednesday.

Rockies: Gonzalez given two days off to regroup
Right fielder Carlos Gonzalez's patience has been tested on a daily basis since returning from finger surgery July 11.

On Tuesday night in a 7-4 loss to the Nationals, his frustration boiled over, prompting Rockies manager Walt Weiss to give Gonzalez Wednesday off in addition to the team's off-day on Thursday.

The two-time All Star is just 7-for-32 since his finger surgery, with 14 strikeouts, in eight games. Tuesday night, he slammed his bat down in frustration after another strikeout.

"He's healthy and fresh and everything, so that's not a big deal," Weiss said. "But I just see the wheels churning and the smoke coming out of his ears trying to get his timing back. So I'm just trying to give him a breather."

Pirates: Cole 'feels good in simulated game'
Rehabbing right-hander Gerrit Cole threw a 70-pitch simulated game Wednesday at PNC Park and said he was not bothered by his right lat.

Cole is on the DL for the second time this season -- the first stint was in June for right shoulder fatigue -- after leaving a July 4 start against the Phillies early with tightness in the back muscle.

He said he felt good throwing with batters in the box, and would evaluate what would be the next step with manager Clint Hurdle and pitching coach Ray Searage. That step could very well be a rehab start, which is something Cole didn't do after his last DL appearance.

In his first start after that activation, he allowed five runs and seven hits to the Mets in just four innings.

"Coming in against the Mets, there were still some things I needed to clean up," Cole said. "I was able to do it in four days coming back against the Phillies. But at this time in the year, you can't come out not sharp and give games away. … It's important to come back and give quality starts; if it takes longer, so be it."

Worth noting
• At 54-47, the Pirates are the highest above .500 that they've been all season, and they're 5-1 since the All-Star break.

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