Marquis sharp as Rox sweep Cards

Marquis sharp as Rox sweep Cards

ST. LOUIS -- The Rockies acquired right-hander Jason Marquis this winter to solidify the back of their rotation. Now Marquis is at the top of the National League.

Marquis held the Cardinals to two runs in 6 2/3 innings for his league-leading eighth win, 5-2, as the Rockies completed a four-game sweep at humid Busch Stadium on Monday afternoon in front of 36,748, and extended their longest win streak of the season to five games.

Todd Helton drove in two runs, Troy Tulowitzki knocked a solo shot in the sixth and Clint Barmes had two hits and two RBIs. The Rockies are 5-3 on a road trip that concludes with three games against the Brewers starting Tuesday night.

The Rockies obtained Marquis (8-4) from the Cubs for rightly reliever Luis Vizcaino. Now he is part of a starting staff that has gone at least six innings in every game since June 1. The starter has been the winning pitcher in each game of the streak.

"I think we've been throwing the ball well as a whole the whole year," said Marquis, a one-time Cardinals pitcher who is 11-10 at the current Busch Stadium. "Sometimes, we've run into some bad luck. It's definitely nice to put a little streak like this together."

Marquis, 30, has had strong starts before. In his career, he is 57-37 with a 4.21 ERA before the All-Star break and 30-37 with a 4.93 ERA afterward. Manager Jim Tracy, who saw Marquis' best and worst work as an opposing manager with the Dodgers and Pirates, hopes this is the year Marquis will have a complete, consistent season.

"Honestly, I didn't see anything [wrong] in the first half, because you couldn't beat him," Tracy said. "What I saw periodically in second halves of the season was a tendency for balls to come up and consistently stay up.

"If he keeps it down where he kept it all day today, he's a tough customer."

Barmes said Marquis has been a joy to play behind.

"He attacks guys, and he gets a lot of ground balls," Barmes said. "He's got a lot of good movement, and I remember that from facing him myself."

Marquis struck out four. His best pitching came in third and fourth.

With two out and two on in the third, Marquis enticed Albert Pujols to swing at a bouncing 1-2 slider.

In the fourth, Chris Duncan and Yadier Molina singled with one out, but Marquis struck out Tyler Greene and worked losing pitcher Brad Thompson (0-2) into a fly ball to left.

The Rockies outscored the Cards in the series, 33-9. But Monday they needed Marquis and the bullpen -- Randy Flores, Manuel Corpas and Huston Street (nine saves) -- combined for 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Helton and Barmes made the most of their chances, but the Rockies never had a big inning.

"We just played a terrific series. We pitched great the entire series and we deserved to win these games," Tracy said.

Tulowitzki's homer, his sixth of the season, came against Jason Motte.

"Everything worked right the last five days now," Helton said. "But one thing about this game is you can't take any days off. We have to keep going when we get to Milwaukee."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.