The Rockies are everything baseball is not.

In a game of methodical movement and purposeful trudging, the Rockies feature sudden epiphanies. They typically occur every August just as their season slips toward irrelevancy. So it is as the Rockies begin a nine-game road trip tonight in Los Angeles in the middle of one of their trademark late-season bursts.

A 7-2 homestand, combined with slumps by the teams ahead of them, breathed life back into the Rockies. Now comes the hard part — picking up ground while on the road.

"It's time," said closer Huston Street, who rejoined the club Thursday and is expected to be activated for tonight's game.

The Rockies overcame deficits in 2007 and 2009 to reach the postseason. A year ago, they staged a furious comeback, going from eight games back after 130 games to 1 1/2 games behind with two weeks left. Then, they promptly ran out of gas.

"It's better when people write us off and continue to overlook us," shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said. "It's up to us to keep playing well. We have been in this spot before."

The Rockies are nine games behind NL West-leading Arizona. The remaining schedule makes this year's challenge daunting. Of the Rockies' 31 remaining games, 18 are on the road, including three apiece at the division-leading Diamondbacks and the defending World Series champion Giants. The Rockies are 2-4 in Phoenix this season and 1-5 in San Francisco.

"We're still alive. Personally, I'm excited about the way we've been playing," outfielder Carlos Gonzalez said. "I'm sure we are going to have enough chances. Every team has their ups and downs, and right now Arizona and the Giants aren't playing good baseball."

However, Arizona and San Francisco got a better draw in the final five weeks. They play more games at home than on the road. Arizona finishes with a nine- game homestand, and the Giants host the Rockies in the season's final three games.

Any hope the Rockies have is traced to CarGo and Tulo. Caution, meanwhile, is tied to the wobbly rotation.

Gonzalez is in a season-defining stretch. His wrist healthy, he has seven homers and 23 RBIs during his 12-game hitting streak. "He's coming with it," Tulo- witzki said.

Gonzalez, though, has not been the same player in visiting parks. He has just 25 RBIs on the road this season with a .230 average. Tulowitzki has hit .300 on the road with 11 home runs, and is batting .387 since the all-star break.