June 20, 2014

A long overdue quality start helped the Colorado Rockies end a losing streak, but they could fall back into those struggles without improvement from the back end of their rotation.

They'll hope Chris Rusin can provide them with consecutive quality starts for the first time in almost two weeks Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Colorado (29-39) had dropped five straight behind a 10.13 ERA from its starting pitchers before Chad Bettis allowed one run in 6 1-3 innings of Saturday's 5-1 victory. Charlie Blackmon provided most of the offense with two hits and three RBIs, while the Brewers (25-45) were held to six hits in their seventh loss in eight games.

"We did everything," Blackmon told MLB's official website. "Starting pitching, relief pitching was unbelievable. Defensively we turned a couple of double plays when we need to and then we got ... a couple of other big knocks to drive in runs with two outs."

Rusin (2-2, 5.14 ERA) has been unable to regain the form he displayed earlier this season. He allowed seven runs and nine hits over four innings of an 8-5 loss at Houston on Tuesday, pushing his ERA in his last two starts to 12.54. Opponents are hitting .417 in that span with four home runs and only five total strikeouts.

The left-hander could turn things around at Coors Field, where he stifled Miami with seven strong innings and eight strikeouts in a 10-5 win on June 6 - his only home appearance this season.

Rusin went 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA in his first three appearances, including two starts.

Milwaukee will counter with Matt Garza (4-8, 5.07), who opened his season with a loss to Colorado on April 7. The right-hander enters this matchup after allowing six runs and a career-high 13 hits over 6 2-3 innings in a 7-2 loss to Kansas City on Tuesday.

Garza had surrendered only two earned runs in his previous two starts, spanning 13 innings.

He's 2-4 with a 5.25 ERA in six starts against the Rockies, but this will be his first appearance at Coors Field since 2011.

Carlos Gonzalez is 4 for 15 with three homers and a double against Garza.

The Brewers have struggled both at the plate and on the mound this season, ranking among baseball's worst teams in both ERA (4.45) and runs scored per game (3.6). They've posted a 6.39 ERA during the 1-7 stretch.

"Tough times make tough people," Garza told MLB's official website. "If you're ready to cower, then just get out of the locker room. Pick your stuff up and go. We're all in it together and if you don't like it, grab your stuff and go home. We'll find someone else to grind with us."

Aramis Ramirez did not play Saturday after going 3 for 5 with a home run in Milwaukee's 9-5 victory Friday. He's 3 for 5 with a homer against Rusin.

Ryan Braun went hitless in four at-bats Saturday and is 2 for 30 in the past eight games.

The Rockies are 41-22 versus the Brewers at Coors Field for a .651 winning percentage - their highest at home against any opponent.

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