The Diamondbacks look to win their fifth straight over the Rockies when they play the second game of their three-game series Wednesday at Coors Field.
Arizona (61-58) defeated Colorado 4-2 on Tuesday to win its second in a row after a four-game skid and maintain its one-game lead over second-place Los Angeles.
The Diamondbacks are 30-15 against the NL West - the best record of any team within its own division - and much of that success has come at the expense of the Rockies, who swept Arizona in last season’s league championship series.
The Diamondbacks are 9-1 against Colorado this season, outscoring the Rockies 67-37. Arizona, batting .321 in the season series, has won all four meetings at Coors.
The defending NL champion Rockies (53-68), meanwhile, have lost three straight and five of six to drop nine games behind the Diamondbacks.
Adam Dunn, tied with Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard for the league lead with 32 homers, went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk in his Arizona debut Tuesday. The Diamondbacks acquired Dunn from Cincinnati on Monday hoping he can provide some power for a club that has scored the 10th-fewest runs in the majors (538).
“We expected Dunn to solidify the middle of the order and take some pressure off the other guys,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. “He did that and solidified the four hole in the lineup.”
Melvin hopes Dunn and the Diamondbacks can plate some more runs Wednesday against scheduled starter Jeff Francis (3-8, 5.81 ERA), who has been knocked around by Arizona all season.
Francis had a 2.84 ERA in three starts versus the Diamondbacks last season, but this year he’s posted an 11.25 ERA in losing all three of his starts against them, yielding at least five runs in each outing.
Francis, a 17-game winner in 2007, has endured a disappointing season that included a five-week stint on the disabled list with left shoulder inflammation.
In first start since June 28, the left-hander allowed five runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-3 loss to Washington on Thursday. He has a 9.19 ERA over his last three starts.
“I think it’s some bad habits I’ve picked up,” he told the team’s official Web site.
The Diamondbacks will counter with Doug Davis (4-7, 4.75), who has also been slumping.
After losing a perfect game with two outs in the seventh at San Diego on July 29, Davis has been pounded for 12 runs and 15 hits over six innings in losing his two August starts. On Friday, the left-hander gave up a season-high seven runs, nine hits and four walks in 4 1-3 innings of an 11-6 defeat to Atlanta.
“I’m having a tough time right now but I’ll battle through it, just like anybody else,” Davis said. “I’m just going to grind out and keep trying to make my pitches. You can’t really stress about it and try harder because it will just get worse.”
This will be Davis’ first start of the season versus the Rockies after going 1-2 with a 3.18 ERA in three starts against them last season.
Colorado’s Matt Holliday, batting .381 (16-for-42) with four home runs, six RBIs and 15 runs in 11 games this month, is 4-for-8 lifetime against Davis.