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DENVER -- Jon Gray, on a wonderful run for two months, will start Wednesday for the Colorado Rockies in the rubber game of a series with the Miami Marlins.
Gray (9-4, 3.62 ERA) will be opposed by left-hander Adam Conley (7-7, 5.74).
The Rockies, Brewers and Cardinals all won Tuesday night, leaving Colorado 1 1/2 games head of Milwaukee and 2 1/2 games ahead of St. Louis in the chase for the second National League wild card.
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The Rockies (85-73) have four games remaining, while the Brewers (83-74) and Cardinals (82-75) have five more games to play.
Colorado is 12-7 in games started by Gray, who has allowed three or fewer runs in 12 consecutive starts, two short of the franchise record set by Ubaldo Jimenez.
In that 12-start span dating from July 25, Gray is 6-3 with a 2.49 ERA. He has allowed 65 hits and 16 walks in 72 1/3 innings during that stretch, striking out 75 while limiting opposing hitters to a .249 average and a .656 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.
Understandably, Gray is supremely confident with a take-your-best-shot-at-me internal swagger as he faces opposing hitters.
"That's exactly how you want to feel going out there," he said. "It's the kind of mindset you need, really. If you don't really feel that way, there's not much of a chance you have in the first place. But it does carry over, and the more good ones that happen, the more confident you feel. I'm just working on taking steps forward."
Gray gave up five hits and one run in six innings Friday at San Diego in his latest start. He walked one, struck out eight and came away with the win in Colorado's 4-1 victory.
"I'm using other weapons this year," said Gray, who is 0-2 with a 7.63 ERA in three career starts against the Marlins. "I've shown that there's other ways to get people out than throwing sliders every other pitch. Just working the curveball in, I think show some pitch-ability, stealing strikes (with it), use it for a punch-out pitch. Mixing in a change every now and then and showing good fastball location, moving (it) to both sides of the plate. It's just been an improvement this year.
"It helps me feel like even when I don't have my best stuff, like my last start I didn't feel very good at all, but I still I can pitch my way out of it. I still feel like I can make really good pitches. I know what to do. I know where to go. And I don't know, it's just like following a guide."
Conley, who is 1-0 with a 5.91 ERA in his career against Colorado, didn't get out of the second inning in his Friday start at Arizona. He has pitched five innings in one of his past four starts, going 1-1 with a 9.56 ERA in that stretch.
Marlins second baseman and leadoff hitter Dee Gordon, who went 1-for-4 on Tuesday in Miami's 6-0 loss to the Rockies, needs eight hits in his final five games to reach 200 in a season for the second time in his career.
Regardless, Gordon is hitting .304 with 107 runs, which ranks fifth in the National League, and 56 stolen bases (second). His successful season resembles those he produced in 2014 with the Los Angeles Dodgers (.289, 176 hits, 92 runs and 64 stolen bases) and 2015 with the Marlins (.333, 205 hits, 88 runs and 58 steals).
In 2016, he was suspended 80 games for violating Major League Baseball's performance-enhancing-drug policy.
Asked how gratifying this season has been in the wake of last year, Gordon said, "Some people were wrong about me. I mean, I knew I could still play. I just had to go out and show people."
When it was suggested this season had to be satisfying, Gordon said, "Not satisfying when you know what you can do. I know what I can do. The thing about those years is I had to show people I could do that then. It's just a part of my game that's not very well respected these days being a smaller guy. So I got to be really good at it."