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PIT@STL: Volquez holds Cards to one for complete game

The Pirates have been outscored by 14 runs and lost some ground in the competitive National League Central so far this weekend in Denver. They'll try to salvage one win before departing the Mile High City on Sunday.

Edinson Volquez will start for the Bucs, whose career road record fell to 30-28 last Saturday. In his lone start since the All-Star Break, Volquez gave up five runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Dodgers and the 10 hits he allowed were the most of the season.

Volquez will be pitching on regular rest in the series finale, but had 10 days between starts prior to his last outing due to the All-Star hiatus.

"Yeah, too many days between starts," Volquez said. "It made pitching against a team like that really tough. Everything was up. I couldn't execute my breaking ball."

Left-hander Franklin Morales will take the ball for Colorado, making his fourth start of July.

Morales has been in and out of the Rockies' rotation this season, and he surrendered four runs -- three earned -- on nine hits in six frames against the Nationals in his last start. It'll be the third consecutive lefty the Rockies will throw against the Pirates, who are 9-9 facing southpaws.

Rockies: Morneau takes BP for first time since injury
Injured Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau took a step forward by taking batting practice Saturday for the first time since being placed on the disabled list with a stiff neck earlier this month.

Morneau has not played since the All-Star Break, and has been bothered by neck stiffness for nearly two weeks.

One of the Rockies' best hitters this season, Morneau hit .312/.345/.502 with 13 homers and 60 RBIs in 89 games before going on the DL. He is eligible to be activated on Tuesday and would be a boost to a lineup that is also without injured shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.

Pirates: Cole to make two rehab starts before return
Gerrit Cole learned the importance of rehab starts earlier this season by not making one.

After being sidelined for nearly all of June with fatigue in his throwing shoulder and not making a rehab start, the right-hander matched a career-worst by allowing five runs against the Mets. He was much crisper in his next start -- when just three men reached base against him in five innings before he left with tightness in his right lat.

That ailment has kept Cole from facing competition since July 4, but he'll pitch for Triple-A Indianapolis on Monday. Cole mentioned he has been more meticulous with this rehab process, saying "if it takes longer, so be it." The Pirates have also bought into that mentality as manager Clint Hurdle said Saturday the 23-year-old will face Minor League competition twice before rejoining the Pirates' rotation.

"I think we're planning on two to get him up to 100 pitches in the second one," Hurdle said. Cole is supposed to throw 80-85 pitches on Monday, and tossed 70 in a simulated game on Wednesday.

In his second Major League season, Cole is 7-4 with a 3.78 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 14 starts.

Worth Noting
• The Pirates are trying to avoid their first three-game losing skid since dropping three consecutive games to the Cardinals earlier in the month.

• Pirates' lefty Jeff Locke gave up three home runs to the Rockies on Saturday night -- one apiece from Drew Stubbs, Nolan Arenado and Corey Dickerson. Locke has given up eight homers in 10 starts this season and five of them have come in his two post-All-Star Break starts.

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