Once again, Rox on a roll in September
Colorado has won 10 straight, just 1 1/2 games back in West
DENVER -- Should this come as a surprise?
Just three years removed from one of the greatest late-season surges in baseball history, the Rockies are at it again.
A week and a half ago, the Rockies sat 6 1/2 games back of the Phillies, who had just won, 12-11, at Coors Field, in the National League Wild Card race. To make matters worse, Colorado's deficit behind NL West-leading San Diego was 7 1/2 games.
Cue win streak.
The Rockies have rattled off 10 straight wins -- one short of a franchise record -- and are just 1 1/2 games behind San Diego and San Francisco entering a crucial three-game set against the Padres beginning Monday night in Denver.
"I think a lot of teams could have thrown it away," shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said. "We kept fighting to the end, come to the park expecting to win and know that, once we catch fire, we can run off 10 games in a row."
Much of the credit goes to Tulowitzki, who hit eight homers in a span of eight games during the streak. Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who has emerged as a legitimate Triple Crown and NL MVP candidate, rode a career-best 16-game hitting streak while hitting .516 in that span.
With horses like Tulo and CarGo leading the offense and a steady rotation holding it together, the team that won 21 of 22 games heading into the World Series in 2007 is experiencing some serious déjà vu.
"We've done this drill before," manager Jim Tracy said. "At this point of the season with what's at stake, we understand what's going on and each guy in the clubhouse knows that, so they show up at the ballpark ready."
Here's how the winning streak has unfolded:
Rockies 4, Padres 3
In his first start since returning from the disabled list, Aaron Cook stymied the Padres at PETCO Park and earned his first win since July 18. Jason Giambi and Tulowitzki each hit two-run homers.
Rockies 6, Padres 2
Gonzalez notched three hits and two RBIs as Jason Hammel scattered two runs over 6 2/3 innings. Colorado also tacked on three late insurance runs against a tough San Diego bullpen.
Rockies 4, Padres 2
Melvin Mora had a two-run RBI single in the seventh to break a 2-2 tie as the sweep-clinching victory extended San Diego's losing streak at 10 games. The sweep was Colorado's first on the road this year, also marking the first time the club returned from a road trip with a winning record.
Rockies 10, Reds 5
Ubaldo Jimenez didn't have his best outing, but finally earned win No. 18, setting a franchise record for wins in a season. The Rockies hammered Reds starter Aaron Harang and got to highly touted reliever Aroldis Chapman as Gonzalez and Tulowitzki combined for five hits and five RBIs.
Rockies 4, Reds 3
Gonzalez hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the first and rookie Jhoulys Chacin continued to shut down opponents, striking out five. The homer propelled Gonzalez into the top spot in the National League in batting average and RBIs.
Rockies 9, Reds 2
Cook was excellent through five, winning his second start in a row, but left after being struck by a line drive from Reds first baseman Joey Votto. Tulowitzki homered twice and drove in four.
Rockies 6, Reds 5
In a play that will go down in Rockies history, rookie Chris Nelson stole home in the eighth off Cincinnati reliever Nick Masset, giving Colorado the 6-5 win and completing the four-game sweep against the NL Central leaders. It was the first straight steal of home in the Rockies' history.
Rockies 13, D-backs 4
For the second time in three games, Tulowitzki hit two home runs in a game that was decided in a six-run third. Miguel Olivo had a three-run triple and Chris Iannetta also crushed a homer to left field. Jorge De La Rosa struck out a season-high 10.
Rockies 2, D-backs 1
Jimenez got a no-decision as Colorado rallied for two runs in the seventh, giving rookie Matt Reynolds his first big league win. Huston Street earned his 18th save, converting on his 10th in a row.
Rockies 4, D-backs 2
The Rockies tied the game at 2 on a two-run bloop double from Ryan Spilborghs in the seventh. In the ninth, Colorado clinched its 25th comeback victory when Giambi smacked a two-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth. It was the club's third straight series sweep.
Joey Nowak is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.