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05/14/09 3:46 PM ET

Bottom of order starting to produce

Iannetta, Stewart key to offensive jolt against Astros

DENVER -- In the four games leading up to the Astros' series, the Rockies had scored a total of 10 runs. In the first two games against Houston, the offense came alive for 23 runs.

"The key to offense is getting on base, moving guys over, getting hits and scoring runs," catcher Chris Iannetta said. "No matter who's doing it, we need guys one through nine to be getting on and scoring runs. That's the way an offense works."

The culprits in the two-game offensive explosion were Iannetta and second baseman Ian Stewart -- the Nos. 7-8 hitters in the Rockies' lineup. Those two spots in the batting order produced seven hits with four home runs, five runs scored and 12 RBIs.

"We've been looking for offense from top to bottom," manager Clint hurdle said. "We've been able to get it. Stewart's picked up the last couple of days. Iannetta is doing his thing. We've been able to generate some offense from the bottom part of the lineup, which is always a good sign."

Production from those two spots has been valuable and sorely needed. Heading into Thursday, the Rockies were last in the National League with a .216 batting average from hitters in the seven and eighth spots in the lineup. Hurdle hopes the turnaround will continue.

"We've had times here where seven, eight and nine was a very soft spot," Hurdle said. "You get seven, eight, nine, they are going to hit three times a game. You are talking about nine outs of offense. You would like to have people contribute and do some things with the bat to help you score runs."

Iannetta was out of Thursday's lineup, replaced by Yorvit Torrealba behind the plate.

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was also out of the lineup with a left elbow contusion after being hit by a pitch Wednesday night. He's listed as day-to-day.

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