Left-hander Kyle Freeland (9-7, 3.20 ERA) will start for the Rockies against Joe Musgrove (4-5, 3.63 ERA).
The Rockies went eight consecutive series without losing one but dropped two on a 2-5 trip to St. Louis (1-3) and Milwaukee (1-2). They suffered three walk-off losses in the first six and a fourth was looming Sunday when they gave up three runs in the ninth, the final two with two outs, enabling the Brewers to tie the game at 4. But Nolan Arenado belted a two-out homer in the 11th off closer Corey Knebel, who was working his second inning, to send the Rockies (59-52) home with a 5-4 win.
The Rockies scored 27 runs in the seven games, hit .184 (9-for-49) with runners in scoring position and .213 (52-for-244) overall. But the Rockies remain just two games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers, who are tied for first in the National League West, and are third, a half game back of those two clubs in the scramble for the second wild-card spot. After three games with the Pirates, the Rockies' homestand concludes with four games against the Dodgers.
"It was a tough week, hard-fought," Rockies manager Bud Black told reporters after Sunday's game. "I told the guys after the game that it'll continue; it's going to be tough. Winning games sometimes can be challenging and come in a lot of different ways. But today was a good win and showed what this team was all about."
Freeland lost for the first time in nine starts Wednesday at St. Louis when he allowed three runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings as the Rockies fell, 6-3. He has gone six innings in just one of his past five starts, but the Rockies have won four of them, and Freeland is 1-1 with a 3.04 ERA in that stretch.
He's 6-2 with a 2.45 ERA in nine starts at Coors Field this season, and the Rockies are 13-9 in his starts.
Freeland is 1-2 with a 6.32 ERA in three starts against the Pirates, including a game on April 18 this season at PNC Park in his fourth outing of the year. He gave up a season-high five runs in four innings and was tagged with a 10-2 loss.
After the last game against the Pirates, Freeland and catcher Chris Iannetta determined that Freeland wasn't throwing his four-seam fastball inside enough to right-handed hitters. Iannetta usually catches Freeland's starts and is expected to do so again Monday.
That adjustment has helped Freeland go 9-4 with a 2.73 ERA in 18 starts -- 12 of which the Rockies have won -- since the ugly outing in Pittsburgh.
Musgrove, who has never faced the Rockies, has pitched at least seven innings in four of his past five starts. He has allowed two or fewer runs in four of them and is 2-2 with a 2.67 ERA in that five-game stretch while limiting opposing hitters to a .232 average and a .656 OPS.
He lost his last start 1-0 on July 29 to the New York Mets, giving up one run on five hits in seven innings.
The Pirates (57-55) just concluded a 4-5 homestand by losing two of three games to the St. Louis Cardinals. Pittsburgh is 24-26 on the road and beginning a nine-game trip that also includes four games at San Francisco and two in Minnesota.
Since their 11-game winning streak that vaulted the Pirates from 12 1/2 games out to six games behind, they have lost six of 10 games.
The Pirates are in fourth place in the NL Central, 7 1/2 games behind the Chicago Cubs and in fifth place and five games back in the second wild-card chase.
"I just love the fact that we're in the hunt," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said after Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Cardinals. "Time to go. We would have loved to have won more games here. We did not. Now it's time to go put a better package together on the road."