Stewart's found his productive power

Stewart's found his productive power

DENVER -- The weather has been brutally hot in July, with the temperature regularly reaching the upper 90s, but it hasn't been as scorching as the Rockies' offense.

Colorado has averaged eight runs per game since the All-Star break and ranked first in the Majors in runs (108), walks (69) and home runs (27) this month heading into Tuesday's 10-1 win over the Dodgers.

The Rockies will try to carry that offensive momentum into Wednesday, when they will attempt to win the rubber match of the three-game series and finish their homestand 6-1.

They've received a huge boost at the bottom of the lineup from Ian Stewart and Troy Tulowitzki. Stewart was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Saturday, and Tulowitzki returned from a lacerated right hand on Monday.

In the past two games, the two young sluggers have combined for 13 hits and seven RBIs from the Nos. 7-8 spots.

"It's enticing," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said before Tuesday's game. "They both have really top-shelf skill sets."

Stewart has always had tremendous raw power, but it didn't show up in his first stint with the Rockies this season. In 18 games in May and June, he hit just .218 with three home runs and 29 strikeouts, causing the Rockies to send him back down to Colorado Springs to find a different type of power.

"You need to have productive power," Hurdle said. "That's consistency of swing, barrel through the zone for a long time [and] shortening your swing."

Stewart worked on all those facets in Triple-A, and he improved enough to warrant another callup. Once back in the bigs, he incorporated a new practice regime under the guidance of hitting coach Alan Cockrell.

While Cockrell was in New York for the All-Star Game, he received hitting tips from Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols. Both frequently hit off batting tees, an exercise Cockrell encouraged Stewart to incorporate in his routine.

So far, the results have been a smashing success.

With a new, more compact swing, Stewart has hit safely in all four games since his recall, tallying a career-high three hits on both Monday and Tuesday. He has also driven in 10 runs, with at least one RBI in each game.

"It's a lot of fun," Stewart said. "It helps that we're playing well as a team, winning games. And to have the results on the field from the work that I've put in with the coaching staff is nice, too."

And that raw power? It can't be much more productive. Stewart launched a 438-foot solo home run in the fourth inning on Tuesday.

"He's got that kind of pop that [Brad] Hawpe's got," Hurdle said. "He'll hit a ball and you'll go, 'Oh, he just missed it,' and then it'll just keep carrying."

Pitching matchup
COL: LHP Glendon Rusch (3-3, 5.79 ERA)
Rusch, who spent most of the season pitching in Triple-A, recorded his second consecutive win, giving up two runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Pirates on Friday. Rusch stayed ahead in the count and used his curveball and changeup to keep Pittsburgh off balance. Rusch has made 10 starts against the Dodgers in his career, but he's 0-5 with a 14.21 ERA.

LAD: RHP Hiroki Kuroda (5-6, 3.79 ERA)
The All-Star break did Kuroda no good. After being spotted a three-run lead on Friday, he was battered by the Diamondbacks for six runs over the first 1 1/3 innings. Coming into that game, he had a 1.19 ERA in his three previous starts. He's 2-7 on the road.

The Rockies' 10-1 win over the Dodgers on Tuesday improved their second-half record to 5-1. They've won 12 of their past 19 games overall. ... Ubaldo Jimenez's complete game on Tuesday was the third by a Rockies hurler this season, with the other two thrown by Aaron Cook. Jimenez has now tossed five consecutive quality starts and has wins in four straight home starts. ... Stewart went 2-for-2 against lefty Clayton Kershaw on Tuesday night. Stewart is 7-for-9 off lefties in his past three games and 7-for-12 this season. ... On Tuesday, Jeff Baker went 4-for-5 with his 20th double of the season. His four hits matched a career high established on May 30 at Wrigley Field.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• None

On radio
• KOA 850

Up next
• Thursday: Off-day
• Friday: Rockies (Aaron Cook, 12-6, 3.58) at Reds (Josh Fogg, 2-2, 7.09), 5:10 p.m. MT
• Saturday: Rockies (TBD) at Reds (Edinson Volquez, 12-3, 2.49), 5:10 p.m. MT

Jeff Birnbaum is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.