After struggling at the plate while matching their longest losing streak of the season, the Colorado Rockies have rebounded with some of their best offensive performances of the year.
Stewart and the Rockies go for their fourth straight win as they continue a four-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday at Busch Stadium.
Stewart has at least two hits in each of his last four games and is 10 for 17 (.588) with four home runs, 12 RBIs and seven runs scored in that stretch. Before that hot streak, the 2003 first-round pick was hitting .177 with seven homers and two multihit performances in 48 games.
“He can change games,” manager Jim Tracy told the team’s official Web site regarding Stewart, who hit .259 with 10 homers in 81 games as a rookie in 2008. “Anytime you see the bat moving forward, there’s a chance for something good to happen.”
With Stewart leading the way, the Rockies (23-32) have scored at least 10 runs in each of three consecutive wins. They had totaled nine runs while dropping their previous four games.
Stewart homered twice, matched a career high with five RBIs and scored three times to lead Colorado to a 10-1 victory over St. Louis on Saturday night. While some Colorado regulars will get a day off Sunday, Tracy says he’ll keep Stewart in the lineup.
“When you’re swinging the bat like that, shame on me if I don’t write a lineup from day to day and he’s not in there somewhere,” Tracy said.
The Rockies haven’t posted a double-figure run total in four straight games since April 30-May 3, 2000.
The Cardinals (31-25) have lost six of nine, scoring three or fewer runs six times in that stretch. St. Louis managed only four hits in Saturday’s defeat, and Rick Ankiel(notes) was the only player to advance past first base when he homered in the sixth inning.
“We’ve got to do better,” manager Tony La Russa said. “We can do better.”
The Rockies are 3-8 in games started by Ubaldo Jimenez(notes) (3-6, 4.11 ERA), who’ll take the mound Sunday. The right-hander held Houston to one run in six innings Tuesday, but Colorado went on to lose 3-2 in 11 innings.
Jimenez went 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in his first two career starts against the Cardinals last year, both Rockies losses.
Joel Pineiro(notes) (5-5, 3.86) will start for the Cardinals hoping to rebound from a tough-luck May. The right-hander has been consistently effective in 2009, but he had a run support average of 1.85 while going 1-5 in May after a 7.86 run support average carried him to a 4-0 record in April.
Pineiro struggled through his shortest outing of the season last Friday, giving up four runs in four innings of a 4-2 loss at San Francisco. He’s 1-0 with an 8.10 ERA in four career games - three starts - against the Rockies.