PHOENIX (AP)—After homering for the fourth straight game, Brad Hawpe had a simple explanation for his power surge.
Hawpe’s streak matches the third-longest in club history, one shy of the record shared by Larry Walker and Dante Bichette. And none of Hawpe’s homers have come in hitter-friendly Coors Field.
With Hawpe hammering away, the once-lowly Rockies finished a 5-1 road trip against NL West rivals San Diego and Arizona. The season is only in its second week, but Colorado will be in first place as it opens a nine-game series at Coors Field against Philadelphia on Friday.
The increasingly confident Rockies don’t look like the team that opened last season 1-15 on the road and finished last in baseball’s weakest division.
“We’ve got a long way to go,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We had a great trip. Now we’ll go and get ready for the Phillies. We expect to win, and when we don’t we’re disappointed.”
The Rockies pounded out 10 hits, nine for extra bases. Their eight doubles were one short of a club record.
No one has been hotter than Hawpe, who went 6-for-11 against Arizona with three homers, a double and seven runs batted in.
“He’s exhibited major-league power in the minor leagues and we’ve seen some flashes of it at this level,” said Hurdle, who tutored Hawpe in the batting cage last weekend in San Diego. “He’s working hard in (batting practice) and he’s working hard in the cage and hitting the ball hard where it’s pitched.”
Josh Fogg (2-0) gave up three runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings.
Hawpe, who fell a single shy of hitting for the cycle in Tuesday night’s series opener, was halfway to a cycle by the fourth inning, when he doubled off Arizona starter Russ Ortiz (0-2).
The three-run lead appeared to be enough for Fogg. After giving up a single leadoff hitter Craig Counsell in the first, Fogg retired the next 10 batters before Chad Tracy hit a 441-foot homer into the center-field pavilion to cut Arizona’s deficit to 3-1 in the fourth.
Ortiz gave up four runs on eight hits—seven for extra bases—in 4 1-3 innings. The right-hander, 103-60 in seven seasons with San Francisco and Atlanta before signing a four-year, $33 million contract with Arizona in December 2004, is 5-13 since joining the Diamondbacks.
“I made seven mistakes today,” Ortiz said. “I got hit hard. What are you going to do? I wasn’t very happy, obviously, to put us in that situation, but at the same time I guess it could have been a lot worse.”
Arizona pulled to 4-3 in the sixth. With one out, Counsell doubled and scored on Jeff DaVanon’s double. DaVanon came around on Tracy’s single, which chased Fogg from the game.
“We just lacked one more big hit,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said.
“I think it’s special,” Hawpe said. “Our lineup’s getting on the board early. Things are going good right now. We’ve just got to keep our head down and keep pedaling.”
Craig Counsell, who led off the game with a single, has a hit in six of seven games he’s started. … DaVanon, a former Angel who signed with Arizona a week before spring training, has a hit in each of his five starts. … The game drew 18,745. That was 101 more than Wednesday’s crowd of 18,644, the smallest in the franchise’s nine years. … Hawpe also came close to a cycle on Sunday, falling a double short while going 3-for-5 with three RBIs in the Rockies’ 10-4 win at San Diego.