Lucroy finding power stroke for stretch run

Lucroy finding power stroke for stretch run

DENVER -- Veteran Rockies catcher Jonathan Lucroy could be finding his production and power at the right time.

Lucroy tripled and homered, plus nearly ignited a ninth-inning rally by fighting back from a 1-2 count to draw a walk, in Monday night's 5-4 home loss to the Marlins.

The Rockies are 1 1/2 games ahead of the Brewers and two games up on the Cardinals in the National League Wild Card race. Although the Rockies have lost six of eight games, Lucroy has hit .371 (13-for-35) in his last 10 and keeps giving the team opportunities.

The seventh-inning homer off Marlins reliever Brian Ellington was his sixth this season, and second since joining the Rockies in a July 30 trade with the Rangers. Since the trade, Lucroy is hitting .301 with five doubles and all three of his triples this season.

"I'm trying to have good at-bats; I haven't done much all year," Lucroy said. "If I can make a push here at the end of the season to help the team get over the hump here, I'm going to do everything I can with my bat."

Lucroy, who has postseason experience with the Brewers and the Rangers, was brought in mainly to help a starting pitching staff with no playoff experience that, at times, has had four rookies in the five-man rotation. But the offense from the No. 8 spot in the order is welcome, especially since the upper part of the order is overcoming simultaneous slumps.

"He's been having pretty good at-bats since his arrival," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "That's the hitter I saw in Milwaukee -- maybe not the power that he showed in Milwaukee. But nevertheless there's a good at-bat, usually a deep count, and he uses the whole field."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.