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Diamondbacks pound Nicasio, Rockies

The SportsXchange

DENVER -- Colorado Rockies starter Juan Nicasio is staggering toward the end of an inconsistent season that has been particularly disappointing recently.

He put the Rockies into a deep early hole Sunday against the Diamondbacks, and Arizona held off Colorado's comeback attempt for a 13-9 victory in the rubber game of the three-game series.

Arizona rookie Matt Davidson finished off a successful weekend by hitting a ninth-inning homer off Chad Bettis and driving in four runs for the game. He also hit a three-run homer Saturday night in Arizona's 7-2 win.

"Just tried to keep a good approach and not try to do too much," Davidson said, "and he just hung a slider and I got it up in the elevation."

Nicasio endured his second straight poor start. He departed after 2 1/3 innings, matching his shortest start of the season, and yielded seven hits and seven runs. On Tuesday against the St. Louis Cardinals, Nicasio had surrendered eight hits and eight runs in 2 2/3 innings.

Season-ending injuries limited Nicasio to 71 2/3 innings as a rookie in 2011 and 58 last year, putting him in uncharted territory pitching in September with 152 1/3 innings.

"It's no excuse, but it's a long season and everybody's tired," Nicasio (8-9) said. "It's the big leagues. You can't throw up in the zone. If you throw up in the zone, they're going to kill you."

Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, 40, went 3-for-5 with two doubles, giving him 591 in his career. He also drove in four runs, raising his career total to 1,402, and the one run he scored was the 1,400th of his career.

Helton is retiring at the end of the season and has hit safely in his past five games, going 8-for-24 with one homer, five doubles, four RBIs and six runs scored in that stretch.

"I struck out my first at-bat and I thought, 'I should have taken this day game off (after a night game),'" Helton said. "But the past couple games, I feel good. The finish line's in sight. It's good to go out and play, play hard and compete."

Nicasio was 6-4 with a 4.40 ERA in his first 19 starts. In his past 11 starts, he is 2-5 with a 7.10 ERA and has pitched six innings just three times.

He gave up four runs in the second inning and three more in the third, allowing seven hits, four of them doubles. Nicasio walked two batters, and both scored.

Gerardo Parra doubled home two runs with one out in the second, after Nicasio gave up a single and a walk to start the inning. Chris Owings followed with an RBI double, and Adam Eaton's two-out single made it 4-0.

Nicasio gave up a leadoff walk in the third to A.J. Pollock, who scored when Paul Goldschmidt doubled into the left field corner. Miguel Montero singled with one out, and Matt Davidson drove in a run with a double off the left field wall that finished Nicasio.

Jeff Francis entered and gave up a run-scoring single to Parra on his first pitch, a ball softly hit to right field, putting Arizona ahead 7-0.

The Rockies scored four runs in the ninth, but that didn't offset the five Bettis allowed in the top of that inning.

Each team pounded out 19 hits. Pollock, Eaton, Parra and Aaron Hill each had three hits for Diamondbacks. In addition to Helton, Charlie Blackmon and Michael Cuddyer had three hits for the Rockies.

By going 3-for-5, Cuddyer raised his average to .He went 3-for-5 to raise his average to .334, giving him a lead over Atlanta's Chris Johnson in the National League batting race. They entered the day tied at .331, but Chris Johnson went 0-for-4 on Sunday and saw his average drop to .327.

Will Harris (4-1) got two outs in the fifth inning and was credited with the win. Arizona starter Patrick Corbin gave up four runs on 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings.

NOTES: Cuddyer was back in the lineup after sitting out since leaving Thursday's game with a sore left wrist, the result of making a diving catch. ... Rockies manager Walt Weiss said CF Dexter Fowler (left knee) and LHP Jorge De La Rosa (left thumb) might not play the rest of the year. De La Rosa last pitched Sept. 10. Fowler, who last started Sept. 6, has been pinch-hitting but aggravated the knee while running Saturday night. ... Diamondbacks 1B Paul Goldschmidt extended his hitting streak to 12 games and drove in a run to raise his National League-leading RBI total to 123...Diamondbacks RHP Trevor Cahill will try to adjust his mechanics so he sees the ball better off the bat. On Saturday, Cahill was struck on the right hip with a line drive in the same spot where he was struck in mid-June and ended up on the disabled list for six weeks.
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