The Colorado Rockies struggled on the road in May. Judging by the team’s last series, June could be a different story.
The Rockies seek their season-high fifth straight win when they open a three-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on Friday.
Colorado (34-32) began its seven-game road trip with a four-game sweep of Washington, snapping a streak of six consecutive road series losses.
That streak started with back-to-back defeats at Atlanta from May 1-2, and things didn’t get much better from there. The Rockies finished 4-13 on the road for the month and scored 37 runs while hitting .209 away from Coors Field.
Colorado returned to Coors at the start of June and appeared to be on its way to falling out of a tight NL West race following a 3-6 homestand.
Then came the series with the Nationals, whom the Rockies outscored 35-14 to earn their third four-game road sweep in franchise history. Washington came into the series having won 17 of its last 24.
Manager Clint Hurdle is aware that no Rockies club has ever finished above .500 on the road. This year’s club is 18-16 away from Denver.
“You’ve heard me allude many times to the fact that every club that shows up here has a chance to write its own book,” Hurdle said. “They don’t necessarily have to carry the baggage of the past.”
“Helton’s our top dog,” Hawpe said of the first baseman who has reached base in nine straight plate appearances. “When he’s hitting the ball well, it helps everybody out.”
Garrett Atkins singled to extend his hitting streak to 14 games. He’s batting .404 (21-for-52) with two homers and 14 RBIs over that span.
Aaron Cook (5-6, 3.75 ERA) is slated to start Friday’s opener for Colorado.
The right-hander went 4-0 with a 2.97 ERA from April 27-May 19, but has gone 0-3 with a 4.85 ERA in four starts since.
His last time out, Cook gave up four runs in seven innings and didn’t figure in the decision in a 6-5 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday.
Cook is 0-0 with a 10.80 ERA in three career games against St. Louis.
The Cardinals (39-26) are coming off a 4-2 road trip in which they took two of three games from both Milwaukee and Pittsburgh. St. Louis, though, has lost three straight and six of its last eight home games.
The Cardinals will look to end that slump when they send Jason Marquis (8-4, 4.88) to the mound Friday looking for his team-high ninth win.
Marquis nearly notched his sixth straight victory in his last outing, but the bullpen was unable to preserve a late one-run lead in a 4-3 loss at Milwaukee on Saturday.
The right-hander is 5-0 with a 3.73 ERA in his last six starts and hasn’t lost since he gave up six runs in six innings of a 6-2 defeat to Colorado on May 8. He’s 3-3 with a 5.14 ERA in eight games, including six starts, against the Rockies.
Rolen, a career .500 (3-for-6) hitter with one homer off Cook, is batting .457 (21-for-46) with two homers and 16 RBIs in 12 games in June.
Duncan, called up from the minors last month for the second time this season, struck out to leave the bases loaded in the first before getting three consecutive hits.
“A lot of guys would be hiding after that first at-bat,” Cards manager Tony La Russa said. “That’s another thing you hear from every manager that he’s played for, he’s a very tough individual. That’s one reason I think he’s going to be an impact guy, he’s got talent and he’s very tough.”
The Cardinals have won four of the last six meetings with the Rockies.