DENVER -- The Rockies spent Friday night's 10-0 victory over the Cardinals displaying two major reasons they lead the National League West, and have won five of their last six and and eight of their last 11.
Charlie Blackmon knocked his 12th homer of the season, finished a double shy of a cycle and drove in three runs to lift his Majors-leading RBI total to 45, and Mark Reynolds added a homer -- his team-leading 13th -- and drove in three runs to improve his total to 42.
Also, rookie right-hander Antonio Senzatela (7-1) held the Cards to five hits, struck out three and forced four double-play grounders in a career-high eight innings. Senzatela's efforts were needed -- until the Rockies ignited for eight runs in the eighth inning.
The Rockies were coming off a 7-3 road trip, during which similarly big innings were common.
"It's kind of contagious, then you get the other team on their heels a little bit," Blackmon said. "It does seem like we've been able to snowball some innings."
For the Cardinals, it was another hard-luck game for righty Carlos Martinez (3-4), who struck out nine and held the Rockies to three runs and seven hits -- including Blackmon's homer -- in 7 1/3 innings. In his previous start, he held the Giants scoreless for nine innings only to see the Cardinals lose in extra innings.
"Taking a two-run game in this park in the eighth is a great job," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "The slider was exceptionally good today. He was using it both sides. He had a couple even back up on him that worked out well. The sinker was good for him too, got a couple double plays worked for our advantage. That was more of what we've seen here recently from Carlos, which was very good."
Before the eighth, Senzatela controlled the game. After two outings in which he went 1-0 but lasted just five innings, Senzatela economically dispersed his 98 pitches by throwing 64 strikes over his eight innings, before Jordan Lyles threw a spotless ninth for the Rockies' third shutout.
"He threw strikes with the fastball," Rockies manager Bud Black said of Senzatela. "The previous couple, the fastball was just a little bit off the plate. He's around the zone. He's not all over it. Today, he dialed it in."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Not bad glove work, either: With Randal Grichuk at third and two out in the sixth, Reynolds went to his right to field speedy Dexter Fowler's chopper, but he slipped as he attempted to flip to Senzatela covering first. The throw was a lob, but Senzatela stepped on the bag, then reached to grab it in time.
Left-field leather:Ian Desmond, who was expected to play regularly at first base this year before he suffered a left wrist injury in Spring Training, is making the most of opportunities in left to get his bat into the lineup. In the seventh with the Rockies up, 2-0, he made a diving grab of a tricky Greg Garcia liner to prevent possible extra bases. Matt Carpenter followed with a single that might have driven in a run. Instead, the inning ended when Senzatela forced a Jedd Gyorko double-play grounder.
"It's all-inclusive. You watch the game tonight and the first thing that stands out is, 'Wow, Senzatela pitched really well.' But I don't know how many double plays we turned. We had some good play in left field and a great play at first base with the pitcher covering. We've been able to run the bases. It's a little bit of everything and it's adding up to some competitive baseball." -- Blackmon, on why he believes the Rockies are playing better than at any point of his career
ARENADO SAYS NO
Senzatela and the Rockies held a 2-0 lead when eighth-inning leadoff man Yadier Molina's smash short-hopped Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, but no matter. Arenado swept the ball up with a matador's flourish and fired to first to retire Molina. Senzatela would end the frame by forcing the fourth double-play grounder from Grichuk.
"The double plays were the big story," Matheny said. "Even Arenado pulling that ball out of nowhere on Yadi's smash hit. That was top of the order, you'd have the first man on and big things can happen after that. They made plays when they had to. There haven't been that many times this year where we've said the double play got us, and you don't expect that in this park."
WHAT'S NEXT Cardinals: Adam Wainwright (4-3, 4.81) toes the rubber for the Redbirds at 8:10 p.m. CT Saturday. Wainwright has been a Rockies killer throughout his career. He's 9-1 in 14 career appearances (10 starts) against the Rockies, and his 1.70 ERA is the lowest all-time among opposing pitchers. He's 3-0 with a 2.73 ERA in five games (four starts) at Coors Field.
Rockies: In four starts at Coors Field, Rockies rookie lefty Kyle Freeland is 2-2 but has a respectable 3.80 ERA. He hopes to climb to the plus side when he faces the Cardinals on Saturday at 7:10 p.m. MT