Arizona (50-47) has gone 7-2 since the All-Star break, won 13 of its last 18 games and is tied for second with San Diego in the NL West, one-half game behind San Francisco. The Diamondbacks’ surge has followed their low point of the season in which they had lost 20 of 23.
Luis Gonzalez provided the key hit in Saturday’s 4-3 victory, an eighth-inning solo homer that snapped a 3-all tie. He is hitting .444 (16-for-36) with two homers and nine RBIs in his last nine games and also has put his issue of complaining about his one-game benching Thursday behind him.
“We’re playing well,” Gonzalez said. “I don’t want any kind of distractions. You put it behind you and we just keep moving along. Our team’s playing so well right now, you want to be a good part of the mix.”
Gonzalez’s replacement in Thursday’s win, Carlos Quentin, had a homer and double and drove in two runs.
While the Diamondbacks are moving forward, the Rockies (45-51) have gone backward. They have lost three consecutive games, 11 of their last 12 and are on the edge of being swept by Arizona for the second time this month.
“We know we just need to win games,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “This isn’t horseshoes. You don’t get points for coming close. This is not hockey. You don’t get a point for tying. You need to win ballgames.”
Hurdle made one key lineup change Saturday, flipping Todd Helton and Garrett Atkins from their third and fifth spots, respectively, in the batting order. Atkins hit a two-run homer in the first inning, but Helton went 0-for-3 with a walk.
Rockies shortstop Clint Barmes is hitting .361 (13-for-36) with three homers during a 10-game hitting streak.
Rockies right-hander Byung-Hyun Kim (5-6, 4.78 ERA) takes the mound Sunday seeking his first career win over Arizona and first win since June 25. He is 0-3 with a 7.11 ERA in four lifetime games against the Diamondbacks, who are 4-0 when Kim has pitched.
Kim has lost two straight, including Monday’s start against the Pittsburgh Pirates in which he had a career-high nine strikeouts in 7 1-3 innings, but was saddled with the loss in a 3-1 defeat.
“He’s been on a roll all season,” Hurdle said. “He continued to do the things he can do and we’ve asked him to try to focus on doing. That’s very encouraging.”
Juan Cruz (3-5, 4.53) will try to complete Arizona’s sweep, trying to pick up his first win since defeating the Atlanta Braves on June 1. The right-hander has lost consecutive starts and gave up three runs in five innings of a 4-1 loss Tuesday to the Los Angeles Dodgers.