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Wave of success deserves a hand

BRAD HAWPE A September star BRAD HAWPE A September star

Just five major league teams since 1937 have had a run of 21 wins in 22 games, but only the Rockies have carried such a surge into the postseason. Colorado comes into Fenway Park tonight for Game 1 of the World Series not having lost a road game since Sept. 13, and is 15-3 in its last 18 contests away from Coors Field. The Rockies took two out of three in Boston June 12-14.

Sept. 16: At Colorado 13, Florida 0 - Todd Helton's 300th career blast is part of the Rockies' four-homer explosion behind rookie Franklin Morales. A potentially devastating home sweep is avoided.

Sept. 18: At Colorado 3, LA Dodgers 1 - In the makeup of a July rainout, Jeff Francis rebounds from his worst start of the season to strike out a personal-best 10 over 6 2/3 innings.

Sept. 18: At Colorado 9, LA Dodgers 8 - A doubleheader sweep comes to a dramatic conclusion when Helton drills a two-out, two-run walkoff homer off LA's All-Star closer, Takashi Saito.

Sept. 19: At Colorado 6, LA Dodgers 5 - Matt Holliday goes deep twice off ace Brad Penny, and Brad Hawpe has a two-run homer in the eighth as the Rockies rally for the second consecutive night.

Sept. 20: At Colorado 9, LA Dodgers 4 - The Rockies bat around in the second, including a Holliday three-run homer (his 11th homer in 12 games), to seal a four-game sweep that essentially ended the Dodgers' playoff hopes.

Sept. 21: Colorado 2, at San Diego 1 - The opener of a crucial series with wild-card leader San Diego is decided on Hawpe's solo homer in the 14th. Colorado's win streak hits six, while the Padres' ends at seven.

Sept. 22: Colorado 6, at San Diego 2 - Four hits and two more RBIs from a sizzling Hawpe help cut San Diego's wild-card lead to 2 1/2 games. Colorado's bullpen gets the job done again, stretching its scoreless streak to 8 2/3 innings.

Sept. 23: Colorado 7, at San Diego 3 - Francis (eight innings) ties a team record with his 17th win of the season, and another sweep gives Colorado its 84th victory, the most in franchise history.

Sept. 25: Colorado 9, at LA Dodgers 7 - With Holliday back after missing two games with an oblique strain, the Rockies do just enough to officially eliminate their NL West rivals from the wild-card picture. Troy Tulowitzki swings the momentum with a two-run homer in the sixth.

Sept. 26: Colorado 2, at LA Dodgers 0 - Josh Fogg goes 6 2/3 innings and three relievers polish off the shutout, which gave the Rockies a team-record 10th straight victory.

Sept. 27: Colorado 10, at LA Dodgers 4 - Hawpe (4 RBIs), Helton, and Garrett Atkins all slug homers in support of Morales, who ties a team record with 20 consecutive scoreless innings before tiring in the sixth.

Sept. 28: Arizona 4, at Colorado 2 - The win streak comes to an end against a worthy adversary. Reigning Cy Young winner Brandon Webb has his sinkerball working, getting 15 ground outs to quiet Colorado over eight innings. Francis is equal to the task, but he gives up the key blow, Conor Jackson's two-out, two-run homer in the third.

Sept. 29: At Colorado 11, Arizona 1 - With their season on the line in Denver (and in San Diego as well, where the Padres had a chance to clinch), the Rockies pounce with a four-run first and blow it open on Tulowitzki's grand slam in the fifth. The Padres' loss to the Brewers sends the wild-card race into a do-or-die Sunday.

Sept. 30: At Colorado 4, Arizona 3 - Rookie Ubaldo Jimenez takes a no-hitter into the sixth, and leaves having allowed just one hit (a solo homer) to go with 10 strikeouts. In the eighth, Hawpe snaps a 1-1 tie with a two-run double. Manny Corpas survives a two-run ninth to close out Arizona and force a one-game playoff for the wild card.

Oct. 1: At Colorado 9, San Diego 8 - Facing Padres ace Jake Peavy, Colorado reaches deeper into its seemingly bottomless well of surprises. The tension pushes into the 13th, when the Rockies overcome Scott Hairston's two-run homer with a three-run rally off closer Trevor Hoffman, capped by Jamey Carroll's sacrifice fly that sends Holliday skidding home on a controversial safe call.

Oct. 3: Colorado 4, at Philadelphia 2 - Francis strikes out eight over six innings, and Atkins's RBI double sparks a three-run second that cools the torrid Phillies in the Division Series opener.

Oct. 4: Colorado 10, at Philadelphia 5 - Kaz Matsui steals the show with a grand slam and RBI triple, putting Game 2 out of reach early.

Oct. 6: At Colorado 2, Philadelphia 1 - Colorado moves on to its first NLCS. Jimenez shines over 6 1/3 innings and Jeff Baker's pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth seals the sweep.

Oct. 11: Colorado 5, at Arizona 1 - Facing Webb, the only pitcher to beat them in nearly a month, the Rockies gain control of the series opener on Hawpe's two-run single in the third.

Oct. 12: Colorado 3, at Arizona 2 - On a team of sluggers, the little guy comes through. Leadoff hitter Willy Tavares makes a diving, run-saving catch in center, and later draws a bases-loaded walk off star closer Jose Valverde in the 11th.

Oct. 14: At Colorado 4, Arizona 1 - Colorado surges toward another sweep when Yorvit Torrealba struck for a tiebreaking three-run homer with two outs in the sixth.

Oct. 15: At Colorado 6, Arizona 4 - Series MVP Holliday cranks his fourth homer of the playoffs, a three-run shot in the fourth, as the Rockies complete their 21st win in 22 games with a celebration like no other in team history.

SEAN SMITH

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