DENVER -- To fully appreciate Rockies shortstop Trevor Story's four-RBI performance in Wednesday's 15-9 victory over the Marlins, which followed a three-run homer in a win the previous night, it's instructive to go back to early September.
In the dugout before a game against the D-backs, Story considered his .229 batting average at the time and smiled. But he said, "I learned to separate my performance from the team," and the team was in the postseason hunt.
Now with the Rockies within reach of securing the second National League Wild Card -- which would mean a trip to Arizona next Wednesday for a one-game showdown -- Story is starting to drive the Rockies' success.
Story singled in two runs in the second inning and doubled in two more in the fourth on Wednesday. Each came after Marlins intentionally walked Nolan Arenado.
Story has managed hits in 19 of his past 22 games. With the Rockies having won their past two games to stay ahead of the Brewers and Cardinals, who are giving chase, Story's recent success is giving the offense another weapon.
"I've said it about a million times; it's a game of ups and downs," Story said. "You're not always doing great. But having that attitude has served me well, for sure."
A sign of how well Story is doing is the fact that manager Bud Black moved him to the cleanup spot against Marlins lefty starter Adam Conley, who was burned on the double. Story is hitting .307 (39-for-127) off lefties. But the two-run single during a three-run inning that took the lead to 9-3 lead came off righty Junichi Tazawa. And the homer Tuesday came off a righty, Jose Urena. When a player is hitting like that, he justifies the decision to use him at cleanup when it fits.
Story, who hit 27 homers in 97 games before suffering a torn ligament in his left thumb in 2016, is hitting .235 with 23 home runs and 80 RBIs in 142 games. His 188 strikeouts lead the NL, but Wednesday was his sixth game this month without one.
And it's not often that team will intentionally walk a man to get to the cleanup hitter. But the guy ahead of him is Arenado.
"Sometimes you take it personal," Story said. "It gives you a little extra incentive to get those guys in, for sure."