ST. LOUIS -- Maybe these not-so-old Rockies have discovered new tricks.
A team with a history of spotty pitching and the inability to win when it couldn't slug through games -- a perfect recipe for struggling on the road -- displayed its guile in a 3-1 victory over the Cardinals to open a nine-game road trip on Tuesday night.
The Rockies (20-18) improved to 12-8 on the road behind Chad Bettis' 6 2/3 innings of ground-ball pitching that would have threatened the lives of any worms that crawled on the infield. Just as impressive was the way the offense scored the little it needed against Cards starter Jaime Garcia.
Some games may turn high scoring during a nine-game trip against the Cards, Pirates and Red Sox. But the Rockies are demonstrating that they can win with big bats or small ball.
"We know it's a tough trip," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "Three really tough teams, long road trip … To win that first one is nice."
Leadoff man Charlie Blackmon, who stole 42 bases last year but has been slowed this year in part because of an early-season left foot injury, achieved his second steal of the year and first since May 1 to set up Nolan Arenado's RBI single in the third.
The fourth inning featured a leadoff walk from Mark Reynolds, a free swinger, and DJ LeMahieu's solid single to set up strategy.
Dustin Garneau, who while bouncing between Triple-A Albuquerque and Colorado over the last two seasons has been working on offensive versatility, delivered an RBI single on a hit-and-run.
"Walt in Spring Training made a big thing for me in hit-and-run situations or bunt situations, I have to be ready for it," Garneau said. "I wasn't really startled by it. I know he wants me to be a guy that can put the ball in play."
Bettis earned just his third career RBI, in 29 starts over the last two seasons, on a slug-bunt.
"I've really realized what it takes to go deeper into games, and that [offense] was something I struggled with earlier in my career," Bettis said. "It was a great team win. Everybody was involved."