Cardinals can halt Rockies' streak of series wins

DENVER -- The Colorado Rockies are 11-2-2 in series this season and will try to improve upon that record when they play the rubber game of their series Sunday with the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Rockies haven't lost in their last eight series since they dropped three of four games to the Washington Nationals at Coors Field from April 24-27.

After crushing the Cardinals 10-0 on Friday night, the Rockies were blanked 3-0 on Saturday night. It is only the second time in Rockies franchise history that they were shut out following a shutout win in the previous game at Coors Field -- an occurrence that also happened against the Cardinals (in 2006).

Rockies rookie German Marquez (3-2, 3.86 ERA) will oppose Lance Lynn (4-2, 2.53) in the series finale.

Marquez is 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA in his past three starts with six walks, 17 strikeouts and 14 hits allowed in 19 innings. In his last outing Tuesday at Philadelphia, Marquez gave up one run in six innings in Colorado's 8-2 victory.

This will be Marquez's second career start against the Cardinals, whom he faced in September in his first career start and fourth big-league game. He's 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA against them after allowing four hits and one run in five innings in Colorado's 11-1 win.

Rockies leadoff hitter Charlie Blackmon's eight-game hitting streak ended Saturday when he went 0-for-4. During the streak, Blackmon hit .432 with three home runs, two doubles, one triple and 14 RBIs. He leads the majors in hits (69), RBIs (45) and multi-hit games (23).

"From his first couple years until now, there's been a fast growth," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "You usually see that growth in the minor leagues where guys get better as they go through the minor leagues and they get to the big leagues and they sort of maintain that level of performance. But I think Charlie's one of those guys who has truly gotten better as a big leaguer from the time he first he got here until now. You don't see that often."

Lynn ranks second among National League pitchers with an opponents average of .188 but has allowed nine homers in 53 1/3 innings. In his last start at Los Angeles and opposed by Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, Lynn allowed two hits and one run in eight innings with two walks and 10 strikeouts in a 123-pitch outing. The Cardinals lost the game 2-1 in 13 innings.

The Cardinals are 5-4 in games started by Lynn, who is 2-1 with a 2.30 ERA in five career starts against the Rockies and 1-0 with a 1.77 ERA in three starts at Coors Field.

Cardinals center fielder Dexter Fowler, who began his career with the Rockies, went 2-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and a walk Saturday night. It was just Fowler's second multi-hit game since April 28.

In the first season of the five-year, $82.5 million contract he signed as a free agent last winter, Fowler is hitting .216 in 42 games with six homers, 18 RBIs, 26 runs scored and a .311 on-base percentage. But his slow start isn't evident in Fowler's daily interaction with his teammates, coaches and manager.

"I think it's been impressive that you can't tell he's hitting two-whatever," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He shows up the same guy as when it was the first day of spring training, just loving life, loving the game, treating his teammates with a lot of respect.

"This guy loves life, kind of lets it shine -- just the kind of person who creates a good atmosphere no matter what his circumstances are, and that's hard to do. There's not many people like that."