Atkins and the surging Rockies look to complete their first home sweep of the season Sunday afternoon in the finale of a three-game set against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Atkins homered for the third straight game and Brad Hawpe hit his first career grand slam Saturday, leading the Rockies to their fourth consecutive victory, 10-5.
Willy Taveras also homered for Colorado (35-33), which is two games over .500 for the first time since April 6 and a major league best 17-6 since May 22.
The Rockies, who have outscored opponents 41-10 during the four-game streak, are 7-0-1 in their last eight series. They haven’t been three games over .500 since they were 44-41 on July 7.
“I don’t expect it every night. But we’re very capable of getting on an offensive roll,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We’re scoring runs a lot of different ways.”
Matt Holliday (.360), Todd Helton (.325) and Brad Hawpe (.299) have hit well all season for Colorado, but Atkins was batting .234 with four homers and 24 RBIs before going 6-for-12 with three home runs and nine RBIs in his last three games.
Atkins has reached base with a hit or walk in 17 straight contests. Atkins’ turnaround happened to coincide with a two-day rest Hurdle gave him to clear his head, but the manager wouldn’t take any credit.
“I’d rather take the blame when things don’t go well than take credit when they go well,” Hurdle said.
Hawpe has homered in three of his last four games and Holliday, the NL batting leader, is 10-for-18 with eight runs scored and six RBIs in his last four contests.
A red-hot offense may be the biggest reason behind Colorado’s current surge, but the pitching has also contributed.
The Rockies had allowed two runs or less in six straight games before Saturday and have a 2.14 ERA in the last seven contests.
Aaron Cook (4-3, 4.37 ERA) will try to keep the Rockies hot. The right-hander was a tough-luck 2-1 loser Tuesday at Boston, as he allowed two runs and seven hits over 7 1-3 innings. He had been reached for 10 runs and 13 hits over 13 innings in his previous two starts.
Cook did not receive a decision in his only career start against the Devil Rays on June 11, 2004, giving up five runs and eight hits in six innings.
Tampa Bay (29-37) was unable to recover from a four-run deficit in the first inning for the second straight night and has been outscored 38-8 during a four-game losing streak.
Scott Kazmir (4-3, 4.07) looks to continue his winning ways on the road when he faces the Rockies for the first time. The left-hander is 4-1 with a 4.46 ERA in six road starts this season, compared to 0-2 with a 3.74 ERA in eight home starts.
Kazmir struck out a season-high 11 over six innings Tuesday at home against San Diego, but did not factor in the decision after allowing four runs and nine hits in a 11-4 victory.
Kazmir is 3-2 with a 5.36 ERA in seven career interleague starts.
“You’ve got to keep the ball down here (Coors Field),” Kazmir told the Devil Rays’ official Web site. “These guys really take their hacks. They don’t get cheated up there. So I’m just going to try and keep them off balance.”
The Devil Rays are 3-8 this season against the NL after going 11-7 in 2006.