ST. LOUIS (AP) – The Colorado Rockies are mired in a prolonged hitting slump. And outfielder Drew Stubbs is not sure how they get out of it.
The Rockies struck out 16 times and fell to St. Louis 4-1 on Sunday, finishing up an 0-6 road trip in which they totaled just eight runs.
“The key, I guess, is to keep grinding away,” Stubbs said. “This game is not easy. You’re going to go through stretches of times where you’re scoring a lot of runs. And then, there are times where runs are kind of scarce.”
This is one of those times. Getting back to Coors Field will probably help the hitters, too.
“We’ve talked about it to death,” Colorado manager Walt Weiss said. “The guys are trying to take the right approach. But this was a tough road trip. Looking down the road, we know we’ve got to get better away from our place.”
Rookie Marco Gonzales, in just his fifth major league start, struck out nine and allowed one run over 5 2-3 innings as the NL Central-leading Cardinals won their third in a row.
The Cardinals held their 3 1-2-game division lead over Pittsburgh. St. Louis has won 13 straight regular-season home games in September and October.
Jhonny Peralta hit a two-run homer to cap a three-run rally in the third inning. It was his team-high 21st homer.
Gonzales (3-2), a native of Fort Collins, Colorado, turned in the finest effort of his career under the pressure of a pennant chase.
“It’s great to be in a race, you could feel the intensity out there,” Gonzales said. “My number was called and I just tried to focus, go out there and do my job.”
Gonzales, the Cardinals’ first-round pick in the 2013 draft, gave up two hits over the first five innings and carried a 3-1 lead into the sixth. He surrendered a two-out single to Brandon Barnes before leaving.
Trevor Rosenthal struck out the side in the ninth to pick up his NL-leading 44th save in 49 opportunities.
Peralta’s homer, a 410-foot shot off Jordan Lyles (6-3), broke a 1-all tie and put the Cardinals ahead to stay.
Barnes drove in the Rockies’ run with a double in the second.
Lyles gave up three runs on nine hits over six innings.
“I just made a mistake to Peralta and good hitters put good swings on the ball,” Lyles said. “He hit it a long way.”
Lyles managed to keep his club in the game. But Rockies hitters were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
Rockies: 1B Justin Morneau did not start for the second successive game after straining a side muscle in Friday’s 5-1 loss.
Rockies: RHP Christian Bergman (2-3, 4.89) will face Roberto Hernandez (8-11, 4.04) in the opener of a three-game against Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday in Denver. Bergman will be making his eighth major league start.
– By STEVE OVERBEY, Associated Press
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