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Wednesday at the races (cont.)

Posted: Wednesday September 26, 2007 11:13AM; Updated: Wednesday September 26, 2007 3:17PM
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Those rockin' Rockies

Ryan Spilborghs and the Rockies have picked a good time to win a franchise-record nine consecutive games.
Ryan Spilborghs and the Rockies have picked a good time to win a franchise-record nine consecutive games.

The Rockies remained a game back in the wild-card dash with their 9-7 win over the Dodgers in Los Angeles. It was the ninth straight win for the Rockies, the longest winning streak in their 15-year history. The last eight have come over the Padres and Dodgers. It's time, baseball fans, to take this team seriously. Very seriously.

The Rockies, I mean. Not the Dodgers.

Maybe the most encouraging part of the win for Colorado fans (or anyone pulling for the underdog, I guess) was the presence of Matt Holliday. The left fielder, who is trying to fight through an oblique strain (or, as I saw it called somewhere else, a good old-fashioned "side pull"), looked like his old self, mostly. He scrapped through a 10-pitch at-bat in the fifth inning before reaching on an infield single, he slid hard into third base later in the inning and, for the night, he had two hits to raise his average to .338.

Don't send in those MVP ballots just yet, voters.

They want to make this difficult

The Phils dropped back in the wild-card race and failed to gain ground on the Mets in the NL East after a 10-6 loss to the Braves in Philly. It was, in many ways, a typical Phillies game. A lot of home runs. Some not-so-good pitching. Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard -- those guys should be mentioned in the MVP debate, too -- and Jayson Werth all homered for the Phils. The problem was, the Phillies got only two other hits.

Meanwhile, Jamie Moyer lasted just 5 1/3 innings and the Philly bullpen -- which had a 1.60 ERA in its last 33 innings coming into the game -- couldn't handle a suddenly amped-up Atlanta lineup. The Braves got an early home run from Mark Teixeira and a late monster shot from Chipper Jones, and in between they ran the bases aggressively, challenging center fielder Aaron Rowand twice in a key four-run sixth. They scored both times on close plays at the plate.

The Braves are pretty much done -- three games from the wild-card lead with five to go -- but they may be playing their best ball of the season, winning eight of their last nine. Jones, gunning for his first batting title, had only the ninth-inning homer and saw his average drop to .340. But, hitting left-handed against righties, he has 25 hits in his last 40 at-bats -- that's .625, for those without a calculator -- with 11 extra-base hits.

Rollins' homer, by the way, was his 30th. He joins Barry Larkin (1996 with Cincinnati) and Alex Rodriguez ('98 with Seattle) as the only every day shortstops in the 30-30 club -- at least 30 homers and 30 steals. (A-Rod was a 40-40 man that year.)

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