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Rain can't dampen red-hot Rox

Rain can't dampen red-hot Rox

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DENVER -- Center fielder Dexter Fowler and the Rockies are making themselves and their fans smile after sweeping a three-game series against the Mariners with a 7-1 victory Sunday, tying their franchise record with their 11th straight win in front of 38,614 at Coors Field.

With the Rockies leading, 2-1, in the top of the fifth with two outs, Fowler tracked down a deep fly ball by first baseman Russell Branyan and bumped into the wall to make the catch, stranding Ichiro Suzuki. Fowler came off the field smiling.

In the sixth, when Fowler headed back into the dugout for a 55-minute rain delay, during which tornadoes were spotted in the area, he made a little girl smile, as well.

"She was asking me [to autograph her baseball]," Fowler said. "She was like, 'Mr. Fowler, Mr. Fowler.' I signed it and I came on in.

"We're having fun. When you're having fun, you can always be happy, and we're winning. That helps."

The Rockies won 11 straight games during the team's magical 2007 World Series run (Sept. 16-27). The streak also ties the Red Sox for the longest in Major League Baseball this season (April 15-27). The win moved the Rockies to 31-32. They have not been this close to the .500 mark since they were 4-5 on April 17.

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was part of the unique streak in '07. But Sunday brought something new -- seeing a funnel cloud in the distance.

"I could see it over on the left-field side," Tulowitzki said. "It was a first for me. But I'm glad everything went OK, and for the people that it did affect, hopefully everything is all right."

When the threatening storms passed, Fowler and the little girl weren't the only ones smiling. Starter Jason Hammel was smiling at the end of the fourth and fifth innings.

"Sometimes, I'm too hard on myself and that's when you start creating bad habits," Hammel said. "I'm trying to create a good habit, smile and have a good time. I think everybody is doing it."

Hammel's new habit helped him win his career-best fourth consecutive decision. He threw 5 1/3 innings and yielded one earned run on five hits with six strikeouts and no walks. About the only thing that stopped him, according to Hammel and manager Jim Tracy, was Mother Nature.

"I saw at least seven [innings], for sure," Hammel said. "I never really had to deal with tornadoes. I never really found out about the other team being Mother Nature. But it is what it is. It happens, and the bullpen came in and did a great job."

Hammel (4-3) also won his first career game at Coors Field and is now 1-2 with a 7.03 ERA at home. Mariners starter Jason Vargas (2-2) took the loss by giving up seven runs, all earned, on 12 hits in 4 2/3 innings.

The Rockies erased a 1-0 deficit in the second on Tulowitzki's sacrifice fly and took the lead in the third when first baseman Todd Helton laced an RBI single to center.

The Rockies batted around in the fifth with five runs, highlighted by a bases-clearing double to the left-center-field gap by catcher Chris Iannetta.

"We manufactured runs in the first two games of this series," Tracy said. "Today, we drove balls like we're also capable of doing."

Cheng Sio is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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