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The Colorado Rockies won 5-2 today and have won 7 of their last 10

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Eddie Butler gave the Rockies a great start and John Axford worked through some trouble to pick up his ninth save.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockies beat the Phillies 5-2 in this afternoon’s game at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia courtesy of a Colorado-style home run derby and some solid pitching. Ryan Howard doubled in the bottom of the first to drive in Chase Utley, who had reached on an infield single with two outs, to put the Phillies up by a run early. Their lead, however, would be short indeed as Nolan Arenado drove a 2-2 pitch to left center for his eleventh home run of the year. Paulsen would pop up to third for the second out of the inning, but Michael McKenry similarly deposited a 2-2 pitch over the wall for his second home run of the season

The scoring would pause for the next few innings, but resumed in the top of seventh when Ben Paulsen hit his third home run of the year to start the inning. McKenry would go down on strikes, but Brandon Barnes doubled and Rafael Ynoa singled to plate him.

Scott Oberg came in to replace the fantastic Eddie Butler and retired the first two batters he faced. Jeff Francoeur nearly hit a home run in the next AB, but upon review the call on the field was upheld and Francoeur had to settle for a ground-rule double. Carlos Ruiz lined out to end the inning.

Arenado singled in the eighth to plate Tulo, who had doubled to lead off the inning, as the Rockies continued to tack on runs. Cesar Hernandez hit a leadoff home run and Ben Revere walked on four straight before Boone Logan was brought in to replace Rafael Betancourt, who left with an apparent injury. According to Twitter, he’s experiencing flu-like symptoms, so thankfully nothing seems to be wrong with his arm.

Logan got Galvis to fly out, but a rare fielding error by Nolan Arenado allowed Utley to reach first as Revere took second. Logan, however, struck out Ryan Howard for the second out of the inning. Brooks Brown was then brought in to face Maikel Franco and Hundley was brought in as a defensive substitution. Brown would force Franco to ground out and the inning would conclude without further damage.

John Axford was brought in to finish the game, but gave up consecutive hits to Cody Ashe and Jeff Francoeur. Ruiz lined out to CarGo for the first out of the inning and Axford fielded a ball to get the out at second, putting men on the corners with two outs. Ben Revere stepped into the box and was set down on strikes, giving Axford his ninth save of the season.

★★★

Overall, the game contained encouraging performances.

Tulo doubled and scored courtesy of an Arenado single, but he also struck out twice and didn’t walk. It’s nice to see him nab that extra base hit, but his offensive woes will continue as long as he’s so aggressive at the plate. He struck out in his first at-bat, grounded out with two strikes in his second, struck out in his third, and doubled with two strikes in his fourth and final trip to the plate. The common theme here? Tulo had at least two strikes on him in each at-bat. He worked the count in some of those at-bats, but I’d love to see him take a walk soon.

Ben Paulsen and Brandon Barnes have been terrific since being recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque and continued to acquit themselves well today. Barnes went 2-for-4 with a double and single, while Paulsen went 1-for-4 with a home run. Paulsen is hitting .359/.419/.667 though 43 PAs, while Barnes has a line of .379/.400/.552 through 30. Obviously the small sample size caveat applies here and those numbers are simply unsustainable, but it’s definitely been encouraging to see the spark they’ve provided for a team that was seriously starting to struggle.

John Axford ran into some trouble early, but he worked himself out of the inning and notched his ninth save of the season in as many opportunities. He’s been absolutely stellar for the Rockies and has been one the season’s most encouraging stories.

The Rockies got a great start from Eddie Butler, who went six innings and allowed only a single run on four hits. Butler also walked just a single batter while striking out three. The Rockies have been getting terrific outings from their starters as of late, which has been key in their recent run of form that’s seen them win seven of their last ten. Butler’s start today marks the seventh solid start in a row the Rockies have gotten from their starters, beginning with the second game of last weekend’s doubleheader.

That game, a 5-3 victory for the Rockies, saw David Hale go 6.2 while allowing only two earned runs, walking none, and whiffing two. An 11-2 blowout of the Giants followed and while the hitting was obviously there for the Rockies, Chad Bettis went 8.1 while allowing just two runs. He also walked only two batters compared to the seven he struck out. A narrow 5-4 victory over the Reds in their next game came off the back of an Eddie Butler start that lasted six innings. He gave up four runs and struck out just one while walking two, but any time a Rockies starter can give the team a performance like that the Rockies’ offense will more often than not secure the win. The Rockies lost their next game to the Reds, however, as the offense didn’t capitalize that time on a fantastic start from Chris Rusin, who went seven innings and allowed just one run. The Rox took the series with a 6-4 win on Wednesday as Kyle Kendrick went 7.1 innings and allowed four runs. Finally, Chad Bettis put together another stellar start yesterday and pitched eight shutout innings.

The Rockies are getting some great efforts from their rotation, especially from a number of guys not many people expected to be big contributors this year. It’s so refreshing to see the Rockies get good outings from their starters, and it is a lot more fun to watch the team when they are getting quality starts as they have been. The offense is good enough to win most games that the pitching helps keep them in. Fingers crossed that the rotation can keep up the good work.