The San Diego Padres are going for their longest winning streak of the season and they're giving part of the credit to the All-Star break.
Some could also go to facing the Colorado Rockies.
The Padres look to continue their home dominance of the Rockies and sweep this three-game set Sunday.
San Diego (43-49) is 6 1/2 games behind the Chicago Cubs for the NL's second wild-card spot and nine games back of the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers in the West. That's a major disappointment after general manager A.J. Preller spent the winter revamping the roster to contend for a spot in the postseason.
They're trying to change that, matching their season-high four-game winning streak Saturday after beating Colorado 5-3 behind Clint Barmes' two-run homer in the seventh.
"It's always good to get a little break, more mentally than it was anything else, to take a few days and get away from the game," Barmes said. "Coming back from the break, guys are ready to get after it and start stringing some wins together and get it going.
"Obviously no one in here's happy with where we're at, but know that we're capable of doing a lot better than what we've shown. The second half should be interesting."
San Diego has five homers among its 11 hits in this series, and it should like its chances in the finale. The team has won 15 of the last 18 home meetings with Colorado (39-51), and a large reason is the staff's 2.33 ERA.
Andrew Cashner (3-10, 4.10 ERA) gets the nod Sunday, and he's 1-1 with a 3.05 ERA in his last three starts after going 0-2 with a 7.62 ERA over his previous five.
The recent improvement has fueled rumors that the right-hander could be dealt before the July 31 trade deadline.
Cashner's latest outing may have increased his value after he allowed four runs and three hits in a season-high 7 2-3 innings of a 5-2 loss at Pittsburgh on July 8.
He's 1-3 with a 5.91 ERA in 10 games - five starts - against Colorado. However, he yielded one earned run in 7 1-3 innings of a 4-2 win at Petco Park on April 16, 2014.
Cashner has held Troy Tulowitzki to 3 for 12 in their matchups after making him go hitless in four at-bats last year.
The All-Star shortstop has reached base in a career-high 40 consecutive games after connecting for a solo homer among his two hits Saturday.
Extending the streak Sunday would tie him with Todd Helton (2007) and Andres Galarraga (1996-97) for the second-longest in franchise history, five back of Michael Cuddyer's mark set two years ago.
The Rockies, losers of 14 of their last 18 on the road, are going to recall Eddie Butler (3-6, 4.80) from Triple-A Albuquerque. The rookie right-hander was demoted after being tagged for six runs and 11 hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-2 loss to Miami on June 5.
Butler, though, compiled a 6.27 ERA in six starts with Albuquerque but had a 4.26 mark over the last three.
"It wasn't all smooth sailing for him down there," manager Walt Weiss told MLB's official website. "He went down there and worked on some things, so we feel like he's made enough progress."