After an ugly string of starts, Lance Lynn finally showed signs of coming around last week.
The timing couldn't be better for the St. Louis Cardinals, who continue to battle for the NL Central title.
Lynn tries to build on his latest performance as the Cardinals open a four-game road set against the last-place Colorado Rockies on Monday night.
While Lynn (13-10, 4.23 ERA) had gone 0-5 with a 6.88 ERA in his previous six outings, he bounced back Wednesday in a 5-1 win over Milwaukee. The right-hander allowed one unearned run and struck out 10 in six innings.
"Yeah, but it's only one game," he said. "You still got to get ready for the next one and try to improve. ... Tonight was a good building block going down the stretch here and get myself right for this team in this run we're trying to make."
A repeat performance could be hard to come by for Lynn, who is 1-6 with a 6.32 ERA in his last eight road outings. He went 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in two matchups against the Rockies last year.
"We haven't made it a secret all season how valuable our starting pitching is and how quality pitching translates to us in the win-loss column," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told MLB's official website. "We understand that. Lance is one of our guys. We need him right, just like we need the rest of them right."
Shelby Miller threw five strong innings and Yadier Molina went 4 for 5 with a homer and three runs in Sunday's 12-2 victory over Seattle. Matt Adams added his third homer in five days as St. Louis (87-62) remained tied for first place in the division.
"We took a lot of those grinding at-bats that we keep talking about," said Matheny, whose club had been limited to six runs in dropping two of three. "They went deep in counts, they stayed within the zone and fouled off some tough ones. We've got everybody feeling right and contributing."
The Cardinals could help their cause against the Rockies (68-82), who return home after concluding a 2-7 road trip with Sunday's 8-2 loss at Arizona.
"I think it's important no matter where you're at to finish the drill and play strong to the end," manager Walt Weiss said. "It's good that we're going back home."
Todd Helton, mired in a 6-for-38 slump, could return to the lineup after getting a day off. The five-time All-Star announced he will be retiring at the end of this season, his 17th in the majors.
"I've known for awhile that I was going to shut it down," said Helton, who spent his entire career with Colorado. "This is probably the part of it I've been dreading the most. To me, it's an exciting part of my life to start a new chapter. I don't know what I'm going to do and to me, that's exciting."
"We're going into the last homestand, and I wanted to go into that homestand knowing it would be my last."
The right-hander hasn't made a big league appearance since giving up six runs in five innings in his Rockies debut, a 7-5 loss to Milwaukee on July 27.
Colorado, which dropped two of three at St. Louis from May 10-12, is 5-15 in the series dating to 2010.