Cardinals-Rockies Preview

Though they're playing at one of baseball's best hitter's parks, the MLB-best St. Louis Cardinals are having difficulty scoring as their injuries continue to mount.

They hope the majors' top rotation can take some of the pressure off until their key hitters return.

Carlos Martinez will try to improve on MLB's best ERA since mid-May and help the visiting Cardinals avoid a season high-tying third straight loss Wednesday against the Colorado Rockies.

St. Louis (38-21) has batted .176 and struck out 45 times while totaling 12 runs over its last five games. The club managed four hits and left six on base in Tuesday's 4-3 loss at Coors Field.

It certainly hasn't helped that clean-up hitter Matt Adams is out for the season after surgery to repair torn quadriceps and No. 3 hitter Matt Holliday went on the disabled list Tuesday with a quadriceps strain.

Matt Carpenter was hitting .365 on May 3, but he's batting .231 over his last 30 games. He's also 0 for 13 with seven strikeouts over his last five games after fanning a career-high four times Tuesday.

Peter Bourjos had been 1 for 11 over his past six before going 2 for 3 with a home run. Jhonny Peralta had a sixth-inning solo shot for his second homer in three games.

The Cardinals, whose starters have a MLB-best 3.06 ERA, might not need much scoring to avoid getting swept by Colorado (27-30) for the first time since July 6-8, 2010, at Coors.

Martinez (6-2, 2.94 ERA) has limited opponents to two runs or less in nine of 11 starts. The exception being a two-start stretch in early May in which he allowed 14 runs over nine innings.

The right-hander is 3-0 with an 0.33 ERA - the majors' best mark since May 20 - over his last four outings. He had his scoreless innings streak end at 21 2-3 - the longest such run this season - when he gave up one run and struck out a career-high 11 in Friday's 2-1 win at Dodger Stadium.

"You can tell he's becoming more of a pitcher than a thrower and is keeping his emotions more under control," second baseman Kolten Wong told MLB's official website.

Martinez could find the going tougher at Coors, where he allowed four runs and five hits over 1 2-3 innings of relief in a 11-4 win in his only appearance on Sept. 17, 2013. He's never started against the Rockies, but has a 14.54 ERA in four relief outings.

DJ LeMahieu had three hits for the second straight game Tuesday, helping the Rockies clinch their first home series win of the season. LeMahieu is batting .400 over his last 18 games, while Nolan Arenado has homered in the first two of this series.

Troy Tulowitzki is 18 for 36 with five homers and 14 RBIs during a nine-game hitting streak.

Chad Bettis (2-0, 2.70) has gone 2-0 with a 1.91 ERA over four consecutive quality starts. He allowed one earned run over six innings last Wednesday but did not get a decision as the Rockies rallied for a 7-6 home win over the Dodgers.

"My motto the whole year - whether I have my best stuff or my worst stuff - is just to pitch my way through a game," Bettis said.

The right-hander made two relief appearances against the Cardinals in September 2013. Jason Heyward homered off him while with Atlanta earlier that season.

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