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Denver • Why does the American League have such a tough time in Coors Field?

Trying to select a turning point in Major League Baseball's long season is at best speculative. In 2007, struggling Colorado swept the New York Yankees at Coors Field. The Rockies then proceeded to lose eight straight.

So much for turning points.

But those connected with Colorado's monumental stretch run to the World Series that year maintain that three-game sweep of New York provided the Rockies with the confidence and knowledge that they could beat good teams.

Since 2006, Colorado has been the most successful in the National League to use interleague play to its advantage. By taking 2 of 3 from Detroit this past weekend, the Rockies not only improved to an amazing 30-9 at home against the American League, but also moved two games closer in the NL West standings.

Overall, Colorado, which plays at Cleveland and New York before hosting the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City, is 50-31 in the past five years when playing AL teams.

"It gives you a chance," Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said of his team's interleague success. "Take for example, San Francisco playing Arizona. One of those teams is going to win. Now, in interleague play, there is a chance where you pick up a game and every other team in your division can lose."

Colorado, which began its series with Detroit 5 1/2 games out of first, was 3 1/2 behind at the end of play Sunday.

"If we're fortunate enough to have a very successful interleague period over the course of these next 15 games, then I think it's safe for me to say ... our status will improve," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "We're not in the position we want to be at this point, but we're not in a bad position, either."

Certainly, the Rockies outplayed a hot Tigers team in the series' opening game. Detroit seemed to figure things out a bit more in the second game. The series finale saw Justin Verlander pitch like, well, like Justin Verlander. No team is beating the Detroit ace these days.

"He wasn't going to lose," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "We had our horse, and our horse came up big."

There seem to be several reasons that AL struggles in Coors Field, including Coors Field.

First, the spacious outfield is where singles turn into doubles. It is 415 feet to center, which is not outrageous, but there's so much of it. The center field section begins just right of the batter's eye (from a home plate perspective) and extends more than two sections of bleacher seats, or the entire length of the Rock Pile.

The 390-foot power alley in left means outfielders play deep to prevent balls from scooting past. If they edge closer to grab those, outfielders are often reduced to watching drives in the thin air sail over their heads. It takes at least a game or two to adjust.

"This park probably has more room in the gaps," Detroit's swift center fielder Austin Jackson said. "It's tough to judge plays when you first get out there. And the ball travels real well."

Then, the American League plays without the designated hitter. Detroit tried to adjust by playing catcher Alex Avila at third base in the opening game. He committed an error, which led to runs.

Colorado can adjust in the AL parks better because of Jason Giambi, a natural DH.

Also, interleague play begins just as the cool Colorado weather turns warm. A small thing to be sure, but one to be factored.

There's also one more detail: "We're decent, and we play good baseball," said Colorado's Ryan Spilborghs.

Twitter: @tribmarty —

Rocking the AL

• Since 2006, Colorado owns a 30-9 record against the American League in Coors Field.

• In the past five seasons, the Rockies have the best overall interleague record in the National League.

• Excluding a 7-8 mark in 2008, Colorado has had a winning interleague record every season since 2006.