(Sports Network) - Troy Tulowitzki and the Colorado Rockies are embroiled in another late-season rally and will aim for their ninth consecutive win tonight in the second installment of a three-game series with the NL West-rival Arizona Diamondbacks from Coors Field.
Colorado has been known for pulling off surges in September, and it appears the ballclub is at it again with eight straight victories. It is just 2 1/2 games behind San Francisco and San Diego for division supremacy, and recorded a 13-4 drubbing of the D'Backs Friday night thanks to a big performance from Tulowitzki. The shortstop ended 3-for-3 with two home runs, three RBI and four runs scored. He has homered in three straight games and has gone deep eight times in the past eight contests.
"We play well late and we know how to finish and we believe that anytime we get hot like this we can ride out a streak as long as anybody," Tulowitzki said in reference to strong finishes in 2007 and 2009 to get to the playoffs. "I stressed that the whole year to everybody, that when we get hot, we're going to get hot and I think this is the first time we've felt like 'hey, this is the time to make our run.'"
Tulowitzki is batting .444 with 17 RBI over his last nine games. Chris Iannetta also went deep and Miguel Olivo drove in three runs with a triple during a six-run third inning. Todd Helton and Ryan Spilborghs ended with two RBI apiece for the Rockies, who are also 3 1/2 games off the wild card lead. Jorge De La Rosa earned the win with six innings of two-run ball and 10 strikeouts.
After five unsuccessful tries to become the first Rockies pitcher with 18 wins in a season, Ubaldo Jimenez is set make his 29th start and will try to be the first National League pitcher with 19 wins. Jimenez was 0-4 with a 3.00 earned run average in five starts before squeezing out a win versus Cincinnati on Monday at Coors Field. In the 10-5 victory over Cincinnati, Jimenez was still a bit shaky and allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings with eight strikeouts. He improved to 18-6 this season with a 2.79 ERA.
The hard-throwing righty, who is a dominant 9-1 in 13 home starts this season, recently lost to Arizona on August 21 at Chase Field after he permitted three runs in six innings of a 3-1 loss. Jimenez is 5-3 with a 2.38 ERA in 12 career starts against the rival D'Backs.
Arizona continues to play out the string and has lost five of the last six games.
In Friday's blowout loss to the Rockies, starter Joe Saunders was pelted for seven runs, four of which were earned, in only 2 1/3 innings of work. Saunders was a victim of Tulowitzki's onslaught, while D.J. Carrasco and Zach Kroenke combined to allow five runs in relief.
"He's hot, he's seeing the ball real well right now," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said of Tulowitzki. "We got around (Carlos) Gonzalez well tonight but that is one of the strengths of their team, if you get around the first guy, you have to get around the second guy and we didn't do that."
Rockies MVP candidate Gonzalez went hitless for a second game in a row after putting together a career-high 16-game hit streak.
Handling pitching duties for Arizona tonight will be struggling righty Rodrigo Lopez, who is 0-6 with a 6.96 earned run average in his last 10 starts. Arizona is just 1-9 in that span and received a respectable showing from Lopez in his previous start on Sunday versus Houston.
In the 3-2 loss to the visiting Astros, Lopez pitched six innings of three-run ball and struck out five, but fell to 5-13 in 28 starts this season.
Lopez, who is just 2-6 in 13 home starts, has lost both appearances to the Rockies this season and is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in three career games (2 starts) in this series.
Colorado has won nine of the last 11 at home against the Diamondbacks.