Brendan Rodgers stood at the plate for an extra moment and watched his three-run homer sail deep into the left-field bleachers.
Why not? The Rockies deserved to strut their stuff on a hot Thursday afternoon at Coors Field.
Powered by their six-run seventh inning and a solid start by right-hander German Marquez, they held on to beat the Cardinals, 8-6, to clinch the three-game series.
The Cardinals, in a dogfight with Milwaukee for the National League Central title, came to Colorado riding a seven-game winning streak but were bludgeoned by Rockies hitters in Games 1 and 3.
But nothing comes easy for the Rockies this season. The Cardinals scored three runs in the eighth off of slumping set-up man Alex Colome. Nolan Gordon drew a leadoff walk and MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt made Colome pay by mashing a two-run homer to left. Former Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado followed with a solo homer.
Over his last nine appearances, Colome has an ERA of 14.84.
Right-hander Carlos Estevez relieved Colome and put down the Cardinals’ rally. But closer Daniel Bard walked a tightrope in the ninth as the Cardinals loaded the bases and score a run. But Bard closed out the game by striking out Arenado — looking — with men on first and third, for his 24th save.
Colorado’s seventh began innocently enough, with Sam Hilliard and Brian Serven drawing one-out walks off right-hander Jordan Hicks. Genesis Cabrera relieved Hicks and allowed RBI singles by Charlie Blackmon and Jose Iglesias, followed by Rodgers’ 407-foot home run. Ryan McMahon then blasted a solo shot to right, giving Colorado an 8-2 lead.
The Cardinals tested Marquez but he hung tough for six innings and left with the game tied 2-2. The right-hander gave up eight hits, struck out six, and walked one.
St. Louis threatened to blow Marquez off the mound in a two-run fourth. Gorman led off with a second-deck homer to right and Goldschmidt followed with a double. Corey Dickerson, the former Rockies outfielder who was 3-for-4, doubled home Goldschmidt. But Marquez snuffed out the Cardinals’ potential big inning by getting Paul DeJong to pop out to first baseman Elehuris Montero and then striking out Tyler O’Neil.
Marquez is 3-2 with a 3.11 ERA over his last six starts, striking out 27 and walking nine.
The Rockies got on the board in the second inning on a two-run double by catcher Brian Serven, who drove in Garrett Hampson and Hilliard, both of whom drew walks off starter Dakota Hudson. Hillard finished the day with a career-high three walks.
The Rockies open a three-game series against Arizona on Friday night at Coors Field.