A successful stretch at the plate has the Colorado Rockies riding one of their longest winning streaks of the season.

Their hitters are certainly in for a challenge Sunday.

One outing after flirting with his second no-hitter of the season, the Detroit Tigers’ Justin Verlander will try to win a career-best fifth straight start and deny the Rockies a fifth consecutive win in the series finale at Coors Field.

Colorado (35-35) is batting .331 and has scored 30 runs during its four-game winning streak. After routing the Tigers 13-6 in Friday’s series opener, the Rockies made the most of their six hits during Saturday’s 5-4 victory.

One of those hits was an RBI single by Carlos Gonzalez, who extended his hitting streak to 11 games. Chris Nelson added his second career homer – both coming in the first two games of this series.

Colorado’s winning streak is its longest since a season-best seven-game run April 9-15.

“I have seen a little bit different looking club out here the last few days,” manager Jim Tracy told the Rockies’ official website. “When they go up there and grind out each at-bat … and you start doing that one through eight in your lineup – eventually something good is going to happen.”

Tracy’s team is likely to be in for many tough at-bats against Verlander (8-3, 2.66 ERA), who has a 0.83 ERA over his last four starts and a 1.84 ERA while going 6-0 in his last eight.

The right-hander, mounting a strong bid to make his fourth All-Star team and third in a row, took a no-hitter into the eighth inning Tuesday against Cleveland. He didn’t complete the no-hitter like he did May 7 at Toronto, but allowed only a pair of singles in his fifth career shutout and fanned 12 – one shy of matching a career high.

“It’s kind of tough on hitters when I can change speeds, elevation and do what I want to do,” said Verlander, who has allowed one run in his last 20 innings.

Verlander is 12-2 with a 3.43 ERA in 17 interleague starts, but has never pitched at Coors Field. He did not get a decision in his only previous matchup with Colorado, a 7-6 home win June 28, 2008.

The Rockies will counter with Aaron Cook (0-1, 3.97), who will try to push the Rockies above .500 for the first time since May 24.

Cook has made two starts since breaking his right index finger in spring training – both against San Diego. He took the loss in a 3-1 defeat Monday, giving up two runs over 5 2-3 innings.

The right-handed sinkerballer is 0-2 with a 6.89 ERA in his last three starts against AL teams, but has never faced the Tigers (38-33).

Detroit slugger and former Florida Marlin Miguel Cabrera, batting .403 in his career versus Colorado and .426 at Coors, is 2 for 4 against Cook.

The Rockies have won 35 of their last 44 interleague home games.

Copyright 2011 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.


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