Runaway Rockies score another big inning

Runaway Rockies score another big inning

DENVER -- An 'out-slug' mentality isn't one the Rockies necessarily want to wed to -- they're confident in their pitching staff -- but they have created a habit of runaway innings since their last series loss in late April.

Their latest installment featured a four-run eighth in Sunday's 8-4 win over the Cardinals, which clinched their eighth series win since dropping three-of-four to the Nats at home during the final week of April. The only series they haven't won since was a four-game split against the Dodgers at home two weekends ago.

The offense -- which was been referred to as "an American League lineup" by Cubs manager Joe Maddon earlier this month -- believes it's capable of a break out at any point and in any situation.

"We always feel that. I think other teams feel it too," left fielder Ian Desmond said. "We have an extremely deep lineup with a lot of guys that are willing to get the next guy up to the plate. When you have that mentality, that's how you push runs across."

Since their last series loss, the Rockies are 18-10, and in 12 games have put together an inning of four or more runs, winning 11 -- a bullpen breakdown against the Reds on May 20 notwithstanding.

On six of those occasions, they've been either tied or trailing, and three times have been up by one and created insurance by breaking out -- including Sunday. In that eighth inning, they increased a 4-3 lead with a string of strong baserunning, consistent contact and capitalizing on defensive miscues, which led to their National League-best 33rd victory.

More telling, Black said, none of the eight Rockies batters in the eighth struck out.

Wolters' two-run single

"We're capable of stringing hits together and at-bats to put pressure on the opposition," Black said. "That's what you strive for, where everybody is giving you a good at-bat. There's not a weak link in that lineup. That's what we're striving for."

The Rockies were on the cusp of a potential breakout in Saturday's 3-0 loss in the eighth inning with the bases loaded when Carlos Gonzalez grounded out to end the inning. Desmond and others said they are more satisfied in a seemingly immediate resolve -- since their last loss to the Nats on April 27, the Rockies are 9-1 when playing the day after defeat.

"We expect to win every day," said catcher Tony Wolters, who is hitting .309, primarily in the eight-hole, and knocked in two runs in the eighth on Sunday. "That's our mindset. Everyone is like: 'Hey, be ready, we're winning today. Let's go.' It's our mindset. We're not just saying it. We're doing it. We need to just keep going, stay consistent, be good every day; not great. Be good consistently and win series."

"I still don't think we're hitting on all cylinders," Desmond said, "which is going to come and it's going to be even more fun than it is right now."

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.