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As Tulo, CarGo rise, Rockies look for more

DENVER -- The Rockies' best dreams heading into this season were based on Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez being healthy and productive. The hitting came late, but it's here.

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Yet ...

From May 29 through Thursday, Tulowitzki's .397 batting average was second in the Majors to that of the D-backs' Paul Goldschmidt. From May 27 through Thursday, Gonzalez hit .303 with six home runs and had hits in 17 of the 20 contests. Yet the Rockies entered Friday's opener of three games against the Brewers having lost eight of nine, including four straight.

Pitching is a huge part of the problem. Outside of a Jorge De La Rosa 4-1 victory at Miami on Sunday, the Rockies have given up at least five runs in five of the losses. In being swept in a four-game set with the Astros, starting pitching was homer-prone -- often as soon as the Rockies had a big inning.

"We can't hold a lead," Tulowitzki said. "It seems like if we score some runs, we give some up. It's like we're playing from behind, a lot of long innings."

But the hitters haven't earned the right to complain. Rockies also are averaging 2.7 runs in the last nine games entering Friday. The Rockies' .295 average with runners in scoring position ranks second in the National League, but in the last nine games they're 11-for-65 in that instance.

While the two sluggers are doing better, Gonzalez said they aren't doing well enough to carry the team.

"We can still be better than what we are right now," Gonzalez said. "For me, I'm getting hits, I'm hitting the ball out of the ballpark and things are getting better, but I still believe I can get better. I know Tulo's not satisfied. He understands the reason he's here is to drive in runs and hit for extra bases. He's getting hits, but I know my guy and he knows he can play better than he's playing right now."

Tulowitzki said, "We just haven't had that momentum. Once we get some momentum, we'll play better."

Before the skid, the pitching had taken flight and at times carried the offense. Manager Walt Weiss believes a turnaround is possible if the pitching and hitting sects don't splinter. Toward that end, he called a meeting of hitters in his office before Friday's game. It wasn't a strategy session.

"The most important element for me is our mindset, and where we're at there," Weiss said.

Hitting coach Blake Doyle said, "This is a team thing. When the pitchers are doing real well, the hitters need to be doing real well, and vice versa. I have all the faith in the world that we're going to come out of this and start tonight.

"How do you get out of a slump? One win, and then you start adding on top of it."

Worth noting

• Right-handed pitcher Rafael Betancourt, on the disabled list with vertigo symptoms brought on by a sinus infection, faced hitters Friday at Coors Field as he works toward an injury rehab assignment. Betancourt will pitch Sunday for Triple-A Albuquerque against Tacoma.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page.
Read More: Colorado Rockies, Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki