Colorado (46-45) at Arizona (49-39)

  • Game info: 9:35 pm EDT Tue Jul 8, 2003
Preview | Box Score | Recap

It took Shea Hillenbrand just 16 games to get himself in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ record book.

Coming off the best performance of his career, Hillenbrand hopes to lead the red-hot Diamondbacks to a two-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies at Bank One Ballpark.

Hillenbrand, acquired from Boston on May 29 for pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim, became the sixth player to homer in three straight innings Monday, setting career highs with five hits and seven RBIs in a 14-6 rout of the Rockies.

Hillenbrand also broke a franchise record with 15 total bases. In eight games since returning from a left oblique strain, the third baseman is batting .400 (14-for-35) with four homers and eight RBIs. He is hitting .349 overall as a Diamondback.

Hillenbrand’s performance overshadowed the return of shortstop Craig Counsell, who went 1-for-4 with an RBI after missing two months with an injured right thumb.

Arizona has won 16 of its last 19, climbing within 4 1/2 games of first-place San Francisco in the NL West despite the absence of injured starters Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson.

Rookie Brandon Webb will pitch for the Diamondbacks on Tuesday.

The 24-year-old right-hander has allowed three earned runs or fewer while working a minimum of six innings in each of his 12 major league starts. It’s the longest stretch of “quality starts” to begin a big league career since Montreal’s Steve Rogers had 16 in a row in 1973.

“With Webb pitching, you know it’s not going to take a whole lot of runs,” Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly said.

Webb is 2-0 with a 1.24 ERA over his last four starts. He threw a seven-hitter in a 7-0 victory over Detroit on June 28 before defeating the Rockies 8-4 on Thursday.

Webb went seven innings, allowing an earned run and eight hits while striking out six at hitter-friendly Coors Field.

Colorado, which boasts an NL-best 31 wins at Coors, fell to a league-worst 15-30 away from home with Monday’s loss.

The Rockies have lost two in a row after winning four of five.

Preston Wilson hit a three-run homer for Colorado, and has three homers and nine RBIs in his last seven games. Wilson, named to the NL All-Star squad Sunday, is second in the league with 79 RBIs, one fewer than St. Louis’ Albert Pujols.

STANDINGS: Rockies - 4th place, 9 GB, NL West. Diamondbacks - 2nd place, 4 1/2 GB, NL West.

ROCKIES PROBABLE STARTER: Denny Neagle (2-2, 6.75 ERA). Neagle is making just his fifth start of the season after spending the first two months on the DL with a sore elbow. The left-hander turned in his worst outing of the season Thursday against Webb and the Diamondbacks, giving up season highs of seven earned runs and nine hits over a season-low three innings. He had won his previous two starts. Neagle is 4-3 with a 6.26 ERA in 14 games, including 13 starts, against Arizona.

DIAMONDBACKS PROBABLE STARTER: Webb (5-2, 2.04 ERA). Webb, who hasn’t lost since June 13 at Minnesota, is 2-1 with a 2.79 ERA in six home starts.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Rockies - Todd Helton, .339 avg. and 77 runs; Wilson, 20 HRs, 79 RBIs; Wilson and Larry Walker, 6 SBs. Diamondbacks - Luis Gonzalez, .316 avg., 17 HRs, 62 RBIs and 58 runs; Tony Womack, 8 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Rockies, 7-4.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Rockies - OF Walker, who vetoed an offseason deal that would have sent him to Arizona for 3B Matt Williams, is one hit shy of the franchise mark of 1,278 held by Dante Bichette. … 1B Helton is batting .386 (34-for-88) over his last 22 games with four homers, 10 doubles, three triples and 14 RBIs. … Colorado is tied with Arizona for the third-best batting average (.272) in the NL. Diamondbacks - INF Counsell took the roster spot of C Rod Barajas, who was placed on the DL because of tendinitis in his left wrist. … Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa was the previous player to homer in three straight innings, accomplishing the feat in the third, fourth and fifth innings at Colorado last Aug. 10. … Arizona has not lost a series since being swept in a two-game series at San Francisco from May 27-28.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rockies - 15-30 on the road; Diamondbacks - 25-18 at home.

INJURIES: Rockies - RHP Shawn Chacon (elbow), 15-day DL; OF Chris Richard (hamstring), 60-day DL. Diamondbacks - C Barajas (wrist), 15-day DL; INF Junior Spivey (ankle), 15-day DL; INF Tony Womack (knee), 15-day DL; OF Danny Bautista (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP Mike Koplove (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Schilling (hand), 15-day DL; LHP Johnson (knee), 60-day DL; RHP Bret Prinz (groin), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Neagle TB vs. B. Webb TEX
2-4 Record 10-9
7.90 ERA 2.84
21 K 172
12 BB 68
1.67 WHIP 1.15