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Rockies ride road momentum against Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- The Colorado Rockies have already assured themselves of no worse than a .500 record on their longest road trip of the season, and they could guarantee a winning trip with a victory in the second game of a four-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night.

After winning two of three against the Minnesota Twins and then the Cincinnati Reds to start the 10-game trip, the Rockies started well in Philadelphia on Monday night, getting seven strong innings from rookie Jeff Hoffman in a 8-1 victory.

Now they will turn to another rookie to try to keep the momentum going.

German Marquez, Colorado's Tuesday starter, has had a strong beginning to the year away from Coors Field. He is 1-0 with an 0.82 ERA in two road starts, giving up just one earned run in 11 innings.

Overall, he is 2-2 with a 4.34 ERA. However, in his last two starts (one home, one road), he has given up just one run in 13 innings, lowering his ERA from 7.31 and picking up his first two wins of the season.

His last time out, just his eighth major league start, he gave up one run on four hits spread over five innings on Thursday, defeating the Twins ace Ervin Santana in a 5-1 victory.

"I have a lot of pride in beating Santana, one of the best pitchers in the game right now," Marquez told the Denver Post after that outing. "He's a guy that's been in the big leagues for 11-plus years now, so there is definitely a lot of pride in beating him."

Marquez is one of four rookies who have started games this year for Colorado, but it hasn't been a problem for a team that has the best record in the National League, 29-17.

"There's a core of these young guys developing, which I think is great," Rockies manager Bud Black said Monday night. "I think those guys are digging it that they're in the big leagues and doing well."

Tuesday will be Marquez's first career start against the Phillies. The right-hander will look for support from a Rockies offense that is clicking of late, collecting double-digit hits in each of the past four games, including 13 hits Monday night.

"I think we played good offense tonight in the sense that we didn't just hit balls over the fence," said Colorado center fielder Charlie Blackmon, who went 2-for-5 with three RBI on Monday, "but we did a really good job getting the sacrifice bunts down and in situations where you can make an out and still get an RBI, we were able to put the ball in play, avoid the strikeout and just play good situational offense."

The Rockies will try to keep raking against Phillies righty Zach Eflin, who is still looking for his first victory as he makes his seventh start.

Eflin (0-1, 4.25 ERA) has faced the Rockies once in his career, picking up a win last July while allowing just two runs over six innings of a 10-3 win.

To make it 2-for-2, he is going to need help from an offense that has been anemic of late.

The Phillies (15-27) managed just three hits and one run in the loss on Monday. They have scored more than five runs only once in their past 10 games, and they haven't scored double-digit runs since May 1.

"We got three hits today, we got three hits yesterday," manager Pete Mackanin said Monday. "Not going to win a lot of games when you're getting three hits."

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