Arizona (42-45) at Colorado (44-42)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Denver, CO
Temp: 40° F
  • Game info: 3:05 pm EDT Sun Jul 9, 2006
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The Arizona Diamondbacks are hoping to end an up-and-down first half on a high note.

The Diamondbacks look to wrap up a three-game series sweep Sunday when they face the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.

The Diamondbacks (42-45) went 18-9 in May, jumping into first place in the NL West. However, they went just 8-20 the following month and dropped into last place.

Arizona opened its current nine-game road trip with a three-game sweep in Oakland, but then were swept in a three-game series by the Los Angeles Dodgers before this set.

Chad Tracy hit his second career grand slam in Arizona’s seven-run ninth inning Friday. The Rockies (44-42) responded with six runs in the bottom of the inning, but the Diamondbacks held on for the 8-7 victory.

“I thought we were going to breeze through,” said Arizona starter Brandon Webb, who gave up one run in seven innings. “You never say that at Coors Field. It’s a little crazy here.”

The teams combined for 13 ninth-inning runs, equaling the most runs scored in the last inning in the majors since the Detroit Tigers scored 13 on Aug. 8, 2001, at Texas.

“We threw a punch back,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said.

The Rockies are tied with San Francisco for third place in the West, 2 1/2 games behind first-place San Diego and 2 1/2 ahead of the last-place Diamondbacks. Colorado had won five straight series heading into this one and had not dropped a set at home since June 9-11 against the Dodgers.

Starter Aaron Cook (6-7, 3.61 ERA) will look to help the Rockies salvage a win in the finale. He allowed four runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings of the Rockies’ 9-6 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Monday, but did not receive a decision.

Despite a 3.98 ERA over his last eight starts, Cook has gone just 1-4 while receiving one or no runs of support in five of those outings.

He is 3-1 with a 3.72 ERA in eight career appearances, including six starts, against the Diamondbacks. Cook made two starts against them in April, going 1-1 with a 4.85 ERA.

Arizona will counter with Juan Cruz (3-4, 4.53), who allowed four runs and seven hits in three innings of Monday’s 10-4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The start was his first since June 1 following a stint on the disabled list with a sore right shoulder.

“Velocity wasn’t where it normally is, breaking ball wasn’t as sharp,” manager Bob Melvin said. “He was a little rusty.”

Cruz gave up three runs in the first inning. Before going on the DL, he had pitched 13 straight scoreless innings in consecutive wins.

“I don’t know about the radar gun or what my velocity was, but I felt good,” he said Tuesday. “I felt good. I don’t have any excuse for it. I just didn’t do my job yesterday.”

Cruz has made eight career relief appearances against the Rockies, earning a 4.35 ERA with receiving any decisions. He made three appearances against Colorado in April, throwing 4 1-3 scoreless innings.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Cruz Phi vs. A. Cook Col
5-6 Record 9-15
4.18 ERA 4.23
88 K 92
47 BB 55
1.34 WHIP 1.40