DENVER -- The Colorado Rockies have not lost a series since June 26-28. In eight subsequent series, they have won seven and split a two-game series last week.
A win Thursday would tie the Rockies' franchise record of nine straight series without losing one set from April 30-May 28, 2017.
After losing 5-4 in 10 innings Monday and winning 6-3 on Tuesday, the Rockies lost 6-3 on Wednesday.
Miles Mikolas (11-3, 2.83 ERA), who has been the Cardinals' best starter, will face Antonio Senzatela (4-3, 5.01) in the series finale.
In Wednesday's victory, the Cardinals received contributions from relievers Daniel Poncedeleon, who pitched 2 1/3 shutout innings and Austin Gomber and Dakota Hudson, who each worked a scoreless inning. All three pitchers were recently promoted from Triple-A Memphis where they were starting, part of St. Louis' mid-season makeover as the Cardinals (55-53), while not conceding this season, begin gearing up for 2019.
"Certainly wins and losses matter, and we get that," Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak told reporters, "but from an evaluating standpoint, we should have a pretty good idea among some of these younger arms who we can count on for next year, and are they in the right roles? Did they adjust to the bullpen? Are they better off as a starter? For us, getting to answer that now rather than guessing or answering it solely in the offseason -- this gives us a better opportunity."
Mikolas leads the team in wins, claiming his last victory Saturday against the Cubs. He allowed six hits and two runs in six innings and induced 13 ground-ball outs, including two double plays, in his 14th quality start. Both runs came on a two-run homer by Javier Baez, ending Mikolas' streak of not allowing a home run at 41 innings.
Mikolas is 5-3, 2.09 in 10 home starts and 4-1, 3.15 in his past seven outings. During that stretch, he has allowed two or fewer runs in six games and three runs in the other.
This will be Mikolas' first start against the Rockies. He's 0-0, 16.20 in two relief appearances against them totaling 1 2/3 innings in 2012. Mikolas was pitching for the San Diego Padres, who were managed by Bud Black, the Rockies' current manager.
Senzatela will be making his fifth start since beginning his second stint this season with the Rockies on July 3. He's 0-2, 7.94 in two road starts, losing back-to-back outings July 8 at Seattle and July 22 at Arizona before ending that slide in his last game Saturday against Oakland.
Senzatela held the A's to one run and five hits in 5 2/3 innings while working around a season-high four walks and matching his season high with six strikeouts. He has allowed one home run in 24 innings as a starter and three homers in 41 1/3 innings overall.
Senzatela is 1-1, 3.00 in two starts against the Cardinals, including 0-1, 9.00 in one outing at Busch Stadium. He pitched a career-high eight shutout innings against them May 26, 2017 at Coors Field but yielded six hits and four runs in four innings at Busch Stadium on July 24, 2017.
The Rockies (58-49) are coming off a 17-6 July and have won 20 of their past 27 games dating from June 28. Right fielder Carlos Gonzalez has been integral to that surge. He was hitting .214 on May 26 with three doubles, four homers, 16 RBIs and a .580 OPS but has since batted .332 to raise his average to .288 with 20 doubles, 13 home runs and an .833 OPS.
"He's hitting the ball to all fields, his swing is aggressive and the bat speed is there," Rockies manager Bud Black told the Denver Post. "I was told last year when I came on board that when CarGo's right, you're seeing the ball driven to left-center, you're seeing home runs to left field, home runs to center field. (Now) he's using the whole field."