Rockies riding record-tying win streak
The Denver Post
DENVER, Colorado – Nothing – not the wail of tornado sirens near Coors Field nor the Seattle Mariners – can stop the Rockies these days.
What began as an innocent snowball with a 10-3 victory in Houston on June 4 has become an avalanche of victories that has transformed the Rockies’ season. A short time ago, they were in danger of becoming an afterthought on the summer sports scene. Today, they are must-see baseball.
The Rockies cruised past the Mariners 7-1 on Sunday for their franchise record-tying 11th consecutive victory as a crowd of 38,614 watched them move within a game of .500. The winning streak ties the run from Sept. 16-27, 2007, that ignited the craziness that became Rocktober.
The Rockies sped away with a high-octane offense and another stellar performance by a starting pitcher. This time, it was right-hander Jason Hammel’s turn to shine. Though he entered the game 0-2 with an 8.58 ERA at Coors Field, he wasn’t about to be a buzz killer.
“I’d be lying if I said that idea didn’t cross my mind once,” Hammel said with a laugh. “But we are riding a pretty good wave right now.”
A tidal wave is more like it.
The Rockies’ run matches the Red Sox for the major leagues’ longest winning streak this season. Boston won 11 straight from April 15-27.
“You can’t take anything away from what they’re doing,” Mariners first baseman Russell Branyan said. “At the end of the day you can analyze it any way that you want, but they beat us three games in a row. We came in here on a roll. They got the best of us.”
The Mariners arrived in Denver at .500, having won four of five. They left with Rockies fans waving brooms in their faces.
Colorado, 13-4 since Jim Tracy took over as manager, is off today and goes after a 12th consecutive win Tuesday at Coors Field against Tampa Bay, the defending American League champion.
On the day he took over for Clint Hurdle on May 29, Tracy said he was convinced the Rockies were a good team, despite their 18-28 record. It was last week in St. Louis, after taking three straight from the Cardinals, that the players really started backing up Tracy’s conviction.
“We played great baseball the first two days in St. Louis, and you could see an easiness to the group,” he said. “By the time we got to Milwaukee, I saw belief. I saw collective belief.”
Hammel was superb en route to his fourth consecutive victory. Setting up his curveball and changeup with a consistent fastball, he allowed one run and five hits in 5 1/3 innings. Had the game not been halted for a 55-minute rain-tornado delay, he would likely have become the latest Rockies starter to go deep into the game. Before Sunday,Colorado starters had pitched six-plus innings in every game in June.
Nearly every Rockies batter tattooed the baseball, making it a miserable day for Mariners starter Jason Vargas. He was yanked in the fifth inning after being pummeled for seven runs and 12 hits.
Catcher Chris Iannetta had the biggest blast of all, hitting a three-run double in the Rockies’ five-run fifth inning.
“This was our best offensive game of the series,” Tracy said. “In the other two games, we had to manufacture runs. Today, we were driving the ball.”
Patrick Saunders: 303-954-1428 or email@example.com