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Rockies hand Diamondbacks sixth loss in seven games

The SportsXchange

DENVER -- The Colorado Rockies opened their home schedule Friday at Coors Field with an exhibition of slugging, which is not unusual there, and a strong effort from their starting pitcher, which is far less common.

They overwhelmed the Arizona Diamondbacks 12-2 before a sellout crowd of 49,130.

Outfielder Charlie Blackmon tied the franchise record with six hits, and he and left fielder Carlos Gonzalez each hit two-run homers. Gonzalez's shot in the sixth inning went off the facade of the third deck in right field.

"Good day all around," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "Couldn't have gone any better."

Blackmon went 6-for-6, tying Andres Galarraga for the Rockies record for hits in a game. He accomplished the feat on July 3, 1995, also at Coors Field.

Blackmon also set a career-high with four runs scored and drove in five runs as he doubled three times (also a career-high) and singled twice. His previous high was four hits on four occasions.

"Never got five hits before," Blackmon said. "Four happened once in a blue moon. You can count that on one hand. So today was pretty amazing,"

Gonzalez, who also tripled, drove in four runs. His home run soared an estimated 457 feet and came off left-hander Joe Thatcher.

"I just put a good swing to the ball," Gonzaelz said. "A nice and easy swing, a slider hanging right down the middle, and I know I got all of it."

Rockies right-hander Juan Nicasio held the Diamondbacks to four hits and one run in seven innings, while throwing 64 of 87 pitches for strikes. Nicasio went that distance just twice in 31 starts last year when he finished 9-9 with a 5.14 ERA.

After having his 2011 and 2012 seasons shortened by injury, Nicasio pitched a career-high 157 2/3 innings last year. But he had trouble finishing his pitches because of weakness in his left knee that was surgically repaired in July 2012.

"He worked hard this winter to get his leg strong so his leg would withhold his strong body," Rockies pitching coach Jim Wright said. "He commanded his fastball; he pitched inside. And he's throwing a plus slider now, a consistent slider. He's developing a split-finger changeup; he got three outs with it today."

With a six-run lead in the fifth, Nicasio hung a slider to Mark Trumbo, who hit his third home run.

Meanwhile, Arizona starter Randall Delgado gave up 10 of the Rockies' 17 hits and was knocked out after facing two batters in the fifth.

Two hitters into the game, he was down a run as Blackmon led off with a double and scored on a single by right fielder Michael Cuddyer, the reigning National League batting champion who went 3-for-6 to raise his average to .455 (10-for-22).

Gonzalez tripled home two runs in the three-run third, and Blackmon belted his two-run homer in the fourth off Delgado.

"You'd kind of like to see Randall establish his fastball early down in the zone, spot it, but he was unable to do that," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "Fastball command is central to everybody, and Randall couldn't do it."

With a run-scoring single in the eighth, Goldschmidt extended his hitting streak to 26 games, the longest active streak in the majors.

The loss dropped Arizona's record to 1-6. The Diamondbacks got 4 1/3 innings from Bronson Arroyo in a loss Thursday to San Francisco and four Friday from Delgado, giving Gibson some early concern about a rotation that will be without ace Patrick Corbin. He will miss the entire 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

"Got four innings from a guy yesterday and four innings from a guy today," Gibson said. "We took the extra reliever (on the roster). We've needed him. We need obviously a good start from (Brandon) McCarthy tomorrow. He needs to go deep in the game for us get some of these (bullpen) guys rested up."

One certainty is that the first batter McCarthy faces will be Blackmon, who is hitting .563 (9-for-16) with a .938 slugging percentage. Weiss has four choices for center field -- Blackmon and Corey Dickerson, who bat left-handed, and right-handed hitters Drew Stubbs and Brandon Barnes. There won't be much pondering Saturday for Weiss, who will write out his lineup, starting with Blackmon.

"He'll be in there tomorrow," Weiss said.

NOTES: The Rockies expect to activate LHP Boone Logan (left elbow inflammation) on Sunday, which will give them a second lefty in their bullpen. ... Rockies RHP Tyler Chatwood (left hamstring strain) will make a rehabilitation start next week, likely Wednesday, that would put him on course to start April 13 when he is eligible to come off the disabled list. ... The Diamondbacks claimed OF Roger Kieschnick off waivers from San Francisco and optioned him to Triple-A Reno. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Rockies transferred pitcher Patrick Corbin from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list where players do not count against the 40-man roster. Corbin will miss this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. ... Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said he has yet to decide on a primary eighth-inning reliever. David Hernandez, who had that role, underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this week...Prado is listed as day-to-day after getting spiked on his left index finger by a sliding Blackmon on a stolen base attempt in the sixth and having to leave the game.
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