Arizona (40-45) at Colorado (44-40)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Denver, CO
Temp: 71° F
  • Game info: 9:05 pm EDT Fri Jul 7, 2006
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The Arizona Diamondbacks have suffered through a rough 30 days. Another solid start from Miguel Batista, though, could give them a boost with the All-Star break approaching.

The Diamondbacks begin a three-game series with the Colorado Rockies on Friday at Coors Field, with Batista (8-5, 4.94 ERA) taking the hill for Arizona.

Since performance-enhancing drug allegations surfaced June 6 against former Arizona pitcher Jason Grimsley, Arizona has been struggling.

The Diamondbacks (40-45) have lost 23 of their last 29 games and slipped into last in the NL West. Fortunately for Arizona, it is only a handful of games back in the tightly bunched division.

“We’ve got to start getting the job done,” center fielder Eric Byrnes said. “We’re going to have to start playing better baseball. We have to get back to .500 first, but I don’t think that a team that plays .500 baseball is going to win this division this year.”

The Diamondbacks were swept in three games by the Dodgers earlier this week, the sixth time they’ve been swept in the past month.

The lone bright spot was a three-game sweep of Oakland last weekend, including a nearly flawless start by Batista on Saturday.

The right-hander, in his first season with the Diamondbacks, carried a perfect game into the seventh inning before allowing a walk to Bobby Crosby and a two-run homer to Frank Thomas.

It was the majors’ longest no-hit bid this season. Batista finished with a three-hitter in Arizona’s 7-2 victory.

“I threw everything today, everything I’ve got,” Batista said. “The one thing that surprised me is they didn’t take too many pitches. They’re a team that usually makes you work.”

Batista has won his last two starts following a three-game losing streak.

He is 5-1 with a 5.56 ERA in 20 appearances—11 starts—against the Rockies, and 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in two starts this season, both in April.

One of the teams the Diamondbacks are chasing are the Rockies (44-40), who have won eight of 11 to move four games over .500 for the first time since May 23. Colorado, battling for the division lead, took two of three from San Francisco to start the week and has won five straight series for the first time since 2000.

“We believe we’re a good team,” starter Josh Fogg said. “Hopefully other teams will notice.”

Todd Helton matched Larry Walker’s franchise record, set in 2002, by reaching base safely in his 35th straight game in the Rockies’ 5-3 win Wednesday.

The last time Helton failed to reach base was May 27, and he’s had a hit in 20 of his last 24 games.

Byung-Hyun Kim (5-4, 4.83) will start against his former team when he takes the mound for Colorado on Friday.

Kim is 0-2 with a 7.88 ERA in three appearances—one start—against Arizona, all last year with the Rockies.

Kim began his career with the Diamondbacks in 1999 as a reliever, was the closer for the 2001 World Series champions and spent 4 1/2 years with the team before being traded to Boston in May 2003.

The right-hander allowed seven hits and six runs in 4 1-3 innings last Saturday against Seattle, but didn’t factor in the decision in the 8-7 loss.

Before that, Kim had thrown 13 scoreless innings in winning his two previous starts.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Batista Col vs. B. Kim SF
11-8 Record 8-12
4.58 ERA 5.57
110 K 129
84 BB 61
1.53 WHIP 1.55