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Rockies start stretch run on road vs. Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Colorado Rockies continue what they hope will be a cakewalk to their first postseason appearance in eight years when they open a two-game road series Tuesday night against the last-place San Francisco Giants.

The Rockies began a 12-game stretch of games against non-contenders by taking two of three at home from the National League West's fourth-place team, the San Diego Padres, in a series that ended Sunday.

They now embark on a six-game trip in which they will face the Padres again for four games later this week after completing the two-game set in San Francisco.

The Rockies then will open the final week of the regular season by hosting the Miami Marlins, a sub-.500 team from the NL East, for three games.

With just 12 games remaining, Colorado (82-68) will take the field Tuesday night two games up on the Milwaukee Brewers (80-70) and 4 1/2 ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals (77-72) in the three-team race for the second NL wild-card spot.

The Arizona Diamondbacks (87-64) lead the Rockies by 4 1/2 games for the first wild card.

Colorado will send right-hander German Marquez to the mound in San Francisco on Tuesday night to face Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto.

Marquez (10-7, 4.41 ERA) has had no luck in two career starts at AT&T Park, having been bombed to the tune of 11 runs and 18 hits in 8 1/3 innings in 12-3 and 9-2 losses.

The 22-year-old responded with seven consecutive starts allowing three or fewer runs after a June 26 drubbing in San Francisco. However, he has fallen back upon hard times of late, having gone winless in three September starts while serving up 12 runs (10 earned) and 23 hits in 13 2/3 innings.

Marquez has dropped to the end of the Colorado rotation, meaning likely will be the odd-man-out if the club should make it to the postseason. That fate already has befallen fellow rookies Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatela, who between them have 21 wins this season.

Rockies manager Bud Black is going with Tyler Anderson, Jon Gray, Tyler Chatwood and Chad Bettis in front of Marquez with a playoff berth in the balance.

"They're just a little more seasoned because of their service time," Black said of his current starters other than Marquez. "Just who they are, it's probably more comforting for us to run those guys out there."

The Giants will run Cueto out there to face the Rockies in the series opener. He is not someone the visitors should be crazy about seeing.

Cueto (7-8, 4.58 ERA) has dominated the Rockies like no other team, running up a 9-3 record and 2.66 ERA in 15 career starts. That includes five innings of five-hit, one-run ball in an 11-3 win at Colorado on Sept. 6.

The Giants are coming off a generally unsuccessful attempt to stall the Diamondbacks' playoff push. San Francisco lost two in a row before salvaging the final game of the series Sunday behind a home run from switch-hitting Pablo Sandoval, his first as a right-handed hitter since 2014.

"It's good to see him have a good day," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "That home run was big because they were back in the ballgame (at 4-2). It's good to see him get ahold of one from the right side."

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