A red-hot offense has helped the Colorado Rockies match the best start in their history. With Troy Tulowitzki on track after an early slump. they're all the more dangerous.
Tulowitzki and the streaking Colorado Rockies seek their fourth straight victory when they continue their four-game series at the New York Mets on Tuesday.
Tulowitzki batted .315 with 27 homers and 95 RBIs last season for Colorado (7-2), but began 2011 by going 1 for 11.
The shortstop is hitting .333 since, and he hit his fourth homer and drove in three runs Monday in a 7-6 series-opening win over New York (4-6).
Carlos Gonzalez also had three RBIs, two of them coming on a game-tying double in the sixth inning.
"I'm ashamed to say those things don't surprise me anymore because (Tulowitzki) does it every day - Carlos, too," Rockies starter Jason Hammel said. "They're two very big factors on this team."
The Rockies have scored at least six runs in six of their nine games. As a result, they've matched the 1997 club for the best nine-game start in franchise history. With another win Tuesday, Colorado can open 8-2 for the first time.
The Mets, meanwhile, are trying to find the answer to their bullpen woes after losing for the fifth time in six games. The relievers are 0-3 with a 6.57 ERA in that stretch.
New York had a 4-2 lead heading into the sixth Monday before Ryota Igarashi, who was called up from Triple-A Buffalo before the game, gave up the game-tying hit to Gonzalez.
"The fight is still there, but we've got to stop making mistakes," manager Terry Collins said.
Besides Igarashi, New York also called up onetime prized prospect Jason Isringhausen, who hadn't pitched in the majors since June 2009 with Tampa Bay. Isringhausen pitched for the Mets from 1995-1999.
A long outing from the starting pitcher could take some heat off the Mets' beleaguered bullpen, but Tuesday's starter Jonathon Niese (0-1, 6.55 ERA) may not be up to the task. The left-hander struggled against Philadelphia on Thursday, giving up six runs and eight hits in four innings of an 11-0 loss.
Niese doesn't have a decision in three starts against Colorado, but the Mets have lost all three games.
To avoid a third straight loss overall, New York will need to overcome Rockies starter Esmil Rogers (1-0, 1.23).
The right-hander had an outstanding season debut Thursday, giving up one run and four hits in 7 1-3 innings of a 7-1 win over Pittsburgh. Rogers, who made eight starts last season while primarily coming out of the bullpen, struck out seven and issued only one walk.
"Rogers was special," Tulowitzki said. "I don't know who I told in spring training, but he was my pick to kind of surprise some people."
Rogers made two relief appearances against the Mets last season, spanning three innings. He allowed one run and two hits.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved