(Sports Network) - The Colorado Rockies will be out to extend their first winning streak of this month when the club resumes an important three-game series with the National League East-leading Atlanta Braves tonight at Coors Field.
After stopping a three-game skid with a 1-0 victory over Arizona on Sunday, the Rockies edged the Braves in another one-run affair in last night's opener of this set. The 5-4 triumph gives Colorado back-to-back wins since the team posted four consecutive triumphs from July 29-August 1.
The Rockies snapped a 4-4 deadlock on Todd Helton's single in the bottom of the eighth inning. The hit plated Carlos Gonzalez, who led off Colorado's half of the frame with a single off Johnny Venters (4-1) and stole second to move into scoring position.
Rafael Betancourt (4-1) picked up the win for the Rockies despite giving up a game-tying RBI double to Alex Gonzalez with two outs in the top of the eighth. Huston Street then retired the side in order to close out the contest and notch his 11th save of the year.
Helton was the hitting star for Colorado, with the veteran first baseman finishing 4-for-4 with two RBI to register his first four-hit game since July 16, 2009.
"He had a good night. He had good at-bats," Atlanta starting pitcher Tim Hudson said of Helton. "We just came up a little short [Monday]."
Ian Stewart added a two-run homer for the Rockies, who find themselves six games back of Philadelphia for the NL Wild Card lead at the moment. Jason Hammel tossed 6 1/3 solid innings despite getting a no-decision, with the Colorado starter allowing three runs and striking out six without a walk.
Martin Prado and Rick Ankiel both homered for Atlanta, with the former going 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI and two runs scored in a losing cause.
Hudson, who had registered a stellar 0.82 earned run average over a six-start stretch coming in, was reached for four runs in six innings. The ace hurler was taken off the hook on Gonzalez's double that knotted the score at 4-4.
Atlanta remained 2 1/2 games ahead of the Phillies for the East's top spot after Philadelphia's loss to Houston on Monday.
The Braves will try to bounce back behind Derek Lowe, with the durable veteran seeking to halt a personal two-game slide when he toes the rubber tonight. The right-hander pitched seven innings in Thursday's home matchup with Washington, but surrendered four runs and came out on the short end of a 6-2 verdict.
Lowe was a tough-luck loser his previous time out, when the sinker specialist yielded just one run over six innings in a 1-0 defeat to Los Angeles on August 14. He's now dropped six of eight decisions since a 9-5 beginning to the year, and Atlanta has posted a subpar 2-9 record in Lowe's last 11 assignments.
The 37-year-old did earn a victory against the Rockies in Atlanta back in April, a 9-5 decision in which he gave up four runs (three earned) over 5 1/3 frames. Lowe is 9-7 with a 4.37 ERA over 19 career meetings with Colorado, but just 3-4 with a 5.66 in nine lifetime visits to Coors Field.
Jorge De La Rosa gets the call for Colorado tonight and will be making his 13th start of an injury-plagued campaign. After missing 2 1/2 months with a torn flexor tendon in his pitching finger, the left-hander has compiled a 1-3 record with a mediocre 5.16 ERA over eight starts since July 9.
The 29-year-old did pitch well in a losing cause this past Thursday, however, as De La Rosa limited the Los Angles Dodgers to two runs and five hits over seven innings in a 2-0 setback on the road. He's been pretty solid at Coors Field this season, having gone 3-2 with a 4.10 ERA in seven starts at his home park.
De La Rosa is 0-1 with an ugly 12.15 ERA over three career appearances against the Braves, however, and was hammered for seven runs while issuing five walks over 3 2/3 innings in a loss at Turner Field last season.
Atlanta won two of three bouts in an early-season series between the teams in Georgia and split a four-game set with the Rockies in Denver last season.