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Senzatela seeks ninth win; Rockies look to sweep Cubs

CHICAGO -- Colorado Rockies rookie right-hander Antonio Senzatela will try to become the first nine-game winner in the National League when he takes the mound Sunday afternoon against the Chicago Cubs.

Colorado (41-23) has won seven consecutive games and will try to increase its streak in the series finale. The Rockies are 24-10 on the road this season as they look to complete a four-game sweep at Wrigley Field.

Chicago (30-31) has dropped four games in a row and needs a victory to climb back to .500. The Cubs already have two four-game losing streaks at home this season after having no such streaks in either of the past two seasons.

Senzatela (8-2, 3.56 ERA) is tied for the league lead in wins with Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw and Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Greinke. Neither Kershaw nor Greinke is scheduled to start Sunday. Houston Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel already has reached nine wins in the American League.

Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta (6-4, 4.46 ERA) will face Colorado for the second time this season. In his first matchup May 9, Rockies hitters battered him for nine runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings. In four career starts against Colorado, Arrieta is 2-2 with a 5.70 ERA.

Senzatela, 22, will face the Cubs for the second time this season and the first at Wrigley Field. He beat the Cubs on May 9 after allowing two runs and five hits in six innings.

Cubs hitters have struggled to produce consistently at the plate this season. The team has scored five runs in the past three games and did not have an extra-base hit in Saturday's 9-1 blowout loss.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon said inexperience played a role in the offensive woes. Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell, Javier Baez, Willson Contreras, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. all are 25 years old or younger.

"I think a lot of it is the young guys that have been a little bit eager in those situations, and that has hurt us a little bit," Maddon said. "That's just teaching. That's just continually putting them out there until the point where they start becoming successful at it, and then all of a sudden it starts trending in the right direction.

"I've said it before: I think we've been hitting 'young' this year. What I mean by that normally is (swinging at) a ball in the dirt, a ball over your head that we're chasing. Really, there's no mechanical solution to that."

Meanwhile, Rockies manager Bud Black is pleased with his team's development in his first season at the helm.

"It's a combination of all the things we do as a team," Black said. "You look at the pitching side, that's been solid from our rotation to our bullpen. Our defense, which goes hand in hand with pitching, has been solid.

"And offensively, you've seen us climb statistically the last month into the upper bracket in the National League -- and I still don't think we've hit our stride. ...

"It's been a collection. Very rarely does one thing carry you, but I do know this: We have to continue to pitch well for the rest of the season to continue where we are."

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