Coming off his best start of the season, Haren leads the Diamondbacks against the short-handed Rockies in the decisive game of a three-game set on Sunday.
Arizona (77-77) is 3 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. But the Dodgers won the middle game of their series with San Francisco 10-7 on Saturday night, and reduced their magic number to five.
“We’re rooting for the Giants and whoever’s going against them,” Arizona pitcher Doug Davis said. “It’s not over yet.”
The Diamondbacks are in desperate need of a strong finish from Haren (15-8, 3.24 ERA) if they hope to make a postseason return.
The right-hander has had his share of troubles in September throughout his career, but he hardly seemed fazed by the late-season pressure in his last outing. He tied a career high with 12 strikeouts, and tossed a four-hitter for his first career shutout as Arizona beat San Francisco 2-0 on Tuesday.
Haren entered that contest with a career record of 7-13 with a 4.40 ERA in September, and had been 0-2 with a 5.57 ERA in his previous four starts.
He’s 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in two starts versus the Rockies (71-84) this season, and 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA in four career starts against them.
Haren will have an excellent opportunity to build off that outing, and continue his success against Colorado, which isn’t expected to have Holliday in the lineup due to a back injury. Holliday, batting .323 with 25 homers and 84 RBIs, was scratched Saturday and Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said he probably won’t play until Tuesday against San Francisco.
Arizona, meanwhile, has won five of its last six despite batting .243 and averaging 3.7 runs during that span.
Stephen Drew hit a two-out, two-run homer in the top of the ninth as the Diamondbacks ended their 11-game road losing streak with a 5-3 victory on Saturday.
With his double in the first inning, Drew became the fifth shortstop in NL history with 40 doubles, 10 triples and 10 home runs in a season. He’s batting .409 (9-for-22) with two homers and three doubles in his last five games.
Drew likely will be back in the leadoff spot as Arizona faces Rockies rookie Greg Reynolds (2-7, 7.42).
Reynolds, making his first start since July 4, gave up seven runs and nine hits in two innings as Colorado lost 11-5 to San Diego on Monday.
It was the second straight poor start for the right-hander. Against Florida more than two months ago, he allowed seven runs in 1 1-3 innings of a game the Rockies rallied to win 18-17.
He made six starts for Triple-A Colorado Springs before being recalled on Sept. 5. This will be Reynolds’ first career start versus Arizona.