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Barmes' bat waking up on homestand

Barmes' bat waking up on homestand

DENVER -- Clint Barmes has been on a tear since the Rockies came home Tuesday, hitting .500 (9-for-18) in the first five games of the nine-game homestand.

The Gold Glove-caliber second baseman with a career-high 23 home runs -- most by a Rockies second baseman -- has had some streaky stretches throughout the season, but he is getting hot when the team needs it the most.

"I feel comfortable at the plate," Barmes admitted. "I feel like I'm seeing the ball pretty well. It would have been nice to get a hit with runners on base the last couple times I came up, but it just didn't happen for me. The Cardinals are a good team. We played them tough, and they beat us."

Barmes registered his fifth multihit game in his past six games, knocking a pair of doubles Saturday. He has career highs with his 31 doubles and 76 RBIs, and is one shy of his career high of 13 steals, making him the first Rockies middle infielder to have two seasons of double-digit homers and steals.

With five players having multihit games Saturday, manager Jim Tracy is hopeful that the Rockies are ready to bust the bats out in Sunday's series finale as they try to take the series from the Cardinals, who clinched the National League Central title Saturday night.

"We've done a lot of that over the last few nights," Tracy said of the offensive outburst. "We had our fair share of hits [Saturday]. The big hit in a couple of those situations where we had multiple runners on base, we just weren't able to get that. But then again, I think you have to give credit every once in a while to the other side of the field."

The Rockies saw their NL Wild Card lead whittled down to 2 1/2 games over the Braves with the loss to the Cardinals following Atlanta's 13th win in its past 15 games, but the Rox maintained the mantra that they were sitting pretty with a lead and that the pressure was on the teams chasing them over the season's final eight days.

"This would have been a nice game to win, but it didn't happen, so we'll move on tomorrow just like we've done all year," Barmes said. "There's nothing different. We still have a lead, and that's the way the mindset is in here. That's the way everbody's going about it. We're going to go out every night up until the last game of the season, and I don't see why that would change either way. It's still exciting and great to be a part of."

Tracy shared his second baseman's excitement, revealing no disappointment with the team's 5-7 performance over the past two weeks.

"I believe we have the second-best record in the National League in the month of September," Tracy noted. "[The Braves] are playing baseball right now at a pace like we did to get to the point where these games become as important as they are. They've won 13 out of their last 15 games, and we got to the point where we are tonight because we went on a stretch where we won 17 out of 18.

"We have to win some games between now and a week from tomorrow. The way we've gone at it the last couple nights against a club of this caliber, we're trying to go through the front door to get into the postseason. That's exactly what we're trying to do. We're playing a heck of a good baseball club here, and we're going to play another good club [Milwaukee] come Tuesday, and another good club next week in Los Angeles. We still lead."

Pitching matchup
COL: LHP Jorge De La Rosa (15-9, 4.42 ERA)
De La Rosa had one of his worst outings of the year Tuesday against the Padres, but it was made palatable by the fact that the Rockies ultimately won the game, making them 20-11 in games he's started.

STL: RHP Kyle Lohse (6-8, 4.81 ERA)
Lohse is coming off his most encouraging start in six weeks, and not a day too soon. He'll try to follow it up in another tough place for pitchers, Coors Field. Lohse now has two starts left to state his case for a place in the Cardinals' playoff rotation.

Tidbits
Todd Helton moved past Babe Ruth for 44th on the all-time doubles list with his 507th career double in the third inning. His 3-for-4 performance Saturday was his second three-hit game of the homestand and his 13th of the season ... Brad Hawpe hit his 21st homer in the fourth inning and his 40th double of the season in the sixth inning Saturday, making him the 18th Rockies player and the first since Matt Holliday in 2007 to have at least 20 home runs and 40 doubles in a single season. ... Troy Tulowitzki snapped his nine-game hitting streak Saturday night. ... Jason Giambi's called third strike with two on and two outs in the bottom of eighth lowered his Rockies pinch-hitting average to .500 (4-for-8) with a homer, four walks and seven RBIs since joining the club Sept. 1.

Tickets
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On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FSN, TBS

On radio
• KOA 850

Up next
• Monday: Off-day
• Tuesday: Rockies (Jason Marquis, 15-12, 3.98) vs. Brewers (Chris Narveson, 2-0, 3.82), 6:40 p.m. MT
• Wednesday: Rockies (Jason Hammel, 9-8, 4.30) vs. Brewers (Jeff Suppan, 7-11, 5.04), 6:40 p.m. MT

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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