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.
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