DENVER -- Rockies manager Clint Hurdle has been pleading with his team to play more relaxed. With the losses piling up, though, relaxed was the last thing the players felt.
But the reigning NL champs are walking around with a little more pep after beating the St. Louis Cardinals for a second straight time, a 9-3 win Thursday to salvage a split in their four-game series.
"I had a coach tell me (once) to relax, but he finally told me it's hard to relax when you're not good," Hurdle said. "That's where we've been."
Matt Holliday had four singles and Jorge De La Rosa scattered five hits over 5 2/3 innings as the Rockies won two in a row at Coors Field for the first time since early April, when they took three from Atlanta.
"When things are going bad, it seems to snowball," Todd Helton said. "Hopefully, it goes the other way, too."
The Rockies had lost 13 of 16 before a late rally Wednesday night led to a 4-3 win, momentum that might have spilled over into Thursday -- if you believe in that sort of thing.
"I never know how much carries over, what does or doesn't carry over," said Holliday, who had four hits in a game for the 11th time in his career. "You just try to keep it going."
A funny hop in the first had the Cardinals fuming and the Rockies off and rolling.
Third baseman Brendan Ryan's misplay of Holliday's grounder with two outs opened the door for a four-run first inning. Ryan waited back on the ball only to have it bounce off his glove for what originally was ruled an error and later switched to a hit.
The Cardinals said they want the league office to take another look at the play. While it won't help with the outcome, it would lower Kyle Lohse's ERA.
Lohse (3-2) struggled for a second straight outing, allowing seven runs and eight hits in four innings. He was coming off a sensational April in which he allowed just nine runs in 34 1/3 innings. So far in May, though, he's surrendered 15 runs and 17 hits in 10 innings.
"I didn't have the best stuff out there," Lohse said. "I wasn't getting the inside part of the plate so ... it's pretty easy when you're looking for something over the plate."
Omar Quintanilla added a career-high three hits and Garrett Atkins finished 2-for-3 with a double, triple and two RBI for the Rockies.
De La Rosa (1-1) was making his second start for Colorado since being acquired April 30 from the Royals. He gave up two runs while striking out five. He looked like a completely different pitcher from the one that surrendered nine runs in four innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"Everything was different," said De La Rosa, who received a standing ovation as he left the field. "I felt much better. I mixed my pitches very good."
Ryan Ludwick continued his torrid hitting for St. Louis with two solo home runs. He went 9-for-13 in the four-game series with three doubles, three home runs and six RBI. Ludwick entered Coors Field with a .308 average and departed at .363.
"He had a great series," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "It's part of a great first month and eight days - long way to go."
Albert Pujols had a single in the sixth, running his streak of reaching base to 36 straight games. It's the longest streak to start a season since 1999, when Derek Jeter reached in 53 straight games and Jim Thome in 37.
The Rockies head out on a six-game road trip on which they play NL West rivals San Diego and Arizona. Colorado is 5-13 this season against its division. The team knows that has to change in a hurry in order to defend its NL title.
"We haven't allowed ourselves much room for error," Holliday said.
Cardinals OF Rick Ankiel was given the day off. ... 3B Troy Glaus didn't start for St. Louis but entered the game in the fifth to pinch hit and drew a walk. ... La Russa remains three wins shy of 2,400 in his career. ... Rockies C Chris Iannetta started behind the plate for a career-high fifth straight game, and had a two-run single in the first.