Cardinals-Rockies Preview

The Associated Press

Much to the chagrin of Matt Holliday and the St. Louis Cardinals, their season series with the Colorado Rockies is set to conclude.

Holliday looks to continue to feast on Colorado pitching as the Cardinals go for a three-game sweep at Coors Field on Thursday night.

After dropping two of three to the lowly Chicago Cubs over the weekend, St. Louis (56-48) has been re-energized by a visit to Colorado while pulling within three games of Atlanta for the NL's second wild-card spot. The Cardinals won Tuesday's opener 11-6 and followed with a 9-6 win the next night to improve to 5-1 in the season series. Holliday has led the way, which shouldn't come as a surprise.

After homering and driving in two runs Tuesday, the former Rockie belted two home runs and finished with five RBIs on Wednesday. Against Colorado this year, he is batting .542 with five homers and 16 RBIs - a big reason why he is tied with teammate Carlos Beltran for the NL lead with 75 RBIs.

Holliday's hitting exploits against the Rockies - and especially at Coors Field - are nothing new. Since leaving Colorado following the 2009 season, the six-time All-Star is batting .433 with six home runs and 15 RBIs in nine games in Denver.

"I like to play here," he said. "I see the ball well here and seem to have fairly good success."

His latest tear isn't reserved to Coors, though. He is batting .391 with seven home runs and 16 RBIs in his last 12 games with the Cardinals winning nine times.

While Holliday is treating Coors like his home, the Rockies' aren't enjoying the same success there.

Colorado (37-65) has lost 19 of 24 in Denver, including seven consecutive defeats. The Rockies haven't lost eight straight home games in a single season since a franchise-worst nine-game skid during their inaugural 1993 season, when they played at Mile High Stadium.

Shoddy pitching has been a major factor during the current skid, as Colorado has allowed an average of 7.7 runs. It could be more of the same in the finale, with Alex White (2-6, 6.45 ERA) expected to be recalled from the minors.

White, who has never faced St. Louis, was sent to Triple-A Colorado Springs on June 25 following a four-start stretch in which he went 0-3 with an 8.27 ERA. The rookie right-hander did pitch well in winning his last two starts for the Sky Sox, though, yielding one total run and eight hits over 15 innings.

White will obviously have to be careful pitching to Holliday, but he isn't the only Cardinal to worry about.

Yadier Molina is 7 for 15 in his last three contests, while David Freese is batting .500 with two home runs and six doubles during a 12-game hitting streak.

Lance Lynn (13-4, 3.42) takes the ball hoping to bounce back from a shaky outing even though he won for the third time in four starts.

Against the Cubs on Friday, Lynn was tagged for six runs and eight hits in five innings of a 9-6 victory. He had gone 2-0 with a 0.47 ERA in his previous three starts.

That stretch started with an outing against the Rockies on July 5, when he permitted four hits while striking out seven in six scoreless innings of a 6-2 victory.

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