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Rockies run home record to 7-0

The SportsXchange

DENVER -- Jhoulys Chacin was sailing along Friday night for the Colorado Rockies, brushing aside Arizona Diamondbacks hitters with ease in the first game of their weekend series.

And the Rockies beat the Diamondbacks 3-1 for their seventh straight victory in large measure because of Chacin.

After three good starts this season, Chacin's fourth was his best until it ended suddenly. He held the Diamondbacks to three singles, walked one and struck out five in 6 1/3 innings before throwing his fourth pitch to Cody Ross, a 1-and-2 fastball, and then reaching for his lower left side.

He was diagnosed with left oblique stiffness and will be re-evaluated Saturday.

"I felt (it) a little bit the pitch before; then the next pitch, I threw it, but it was painful," said Chacin, who is 3-0 with a 1.46 ERA. "I felt something pull me. I feel better now, but it was really painful when I threw the ball."

Rockies manager Walt Weiss, pitching coach Jim Wright and trainer Keith Dugger quickly went to the mound. Chacin almost instantly walked to the dugout, knowing his workday was done after after throwing his 100th pitch.

The win improved the Rockies' home record to 7-0, extending their franchise record for home wins to start a season. At 12-4, the Rockies have matched their best 16-game start in franchise history. They won 12 of their first 16 games in 2011.

Arizona outhit the Rockies 5-3, but all of the Rockies' hits went for extra bases, including a two-run homer by Troy Tulowizki in the fourth. The Rockies entered the game batting .297 with 25 homers and were averaging 6.2 runs and 10.4 hits per game. In addition to Tulowitzki's homer, Chris Nelson tripled and Michael Cuddyer doubled, all the hits coming off Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy.

"We're not going to bang the ball around the park every night," Weiss said. "It's just not possible in this league. So you've got to be able to win in a variety of ways. Tonight we did it with a great ouiting by Jhoulys and a big hit by Tulo."

Chacin, who was the Rockies' Opening Day starter, became Colorado's first starter to throw 100 pitches in a game since June 12, when former Rockies pitcher Jeremy Guthrie threw 102. The Rockies had gone 117 consecutive games without a starter throwing 100 pitches.

"I was throwing my fastball down in the zone, attacking the hitter," Chacin said. "When I throw my fastball for a strike and throw my slider maybe a little off (the plate), they have to swing at it. My changeup was good, too."

Chacin said the injured area could be his oblique or his back, because the pain was in the middle of those areas. Asked whether he was worried, Chacin said, "A little bit worried because I don't want to miss a start or something. I want to keep pitching, especially how we're playing right now. Everything is going well, so I just want to keep helping the team."

Chacin helped himself with the first sacrifice fly of his career. It came in the fifth after Nelson led off with a triple. He lined the ball to center field and A.J. Pollock broke late on the ball.

"I'm surprised, but I wasn't surprised," Nelson said about Chacin's sacrifice fly to center. "Chacin thinks he can hit. He really thinks he's like Tulo or Cargo (Carlos Gonzalez). This is just going to make him think he can hit even better now. That's just going to make him take (batting practice) a little longer now, for sure."

Chacin retired the first nine batters he faced before Gerardo Parra led off the fourth with a single. Kennedy retired the first 10 batters he faced before walking Josh Rutledge with one out in the fourth. It was one of three walks for Kennedy, who pitched six innings, and it proved costly because two batters later, Tulowitzki lined Kennedy's first-pitch fastball into the left-field stands for his fifth homer.

"Nobody's out there trying to walk anybody," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "That's one of the things we pride ourselves on. Over the past years, we've been really efficient with our walks. You want to make them hit their way on and try to make good pitches. The Rutledge walk hurt us tonight."

But Gibson said Kennedy "was fine" and gave the Diamondbacks a chance to win. This was Kennedy's sixth start at Coors Field, where he is 1-2 but has a 3.38 ERA . He struck out five of the first eight batters he faced, walked three and gave up all three Rockies hits.

"Kennedy did a great job tonight," Weiss said. "He got a lot of swings and misses with his fastball and changeup. It looks like there's a lot of deception there with his fastball and changeup."

After Chacin left, Wilton Lopez struck out Ross and Pollock. Rex Brothers gave up a leadoff single to Didi Gregorious in the eighth but got Cliff Pennington to ground into a double play and retired pinch hitter Josh Wilson on a flyout.

Rafael Betancourt picked up his sixth save but gave up an unearned run in the ninth when third baseman Nelson fielded Miguel Montero's grounder but made a low with two out that first baseman Todd Helton was unable to scoop out of the dirt.

On the play, Parra scored. He led off the inning with a single and took second on defensive indifference while Montero was batting.

"I just floated it," Nelson said of his low throw. "I just wasn't aggressive on it."

NOTES: The Rockies recalled left-handed reliever Josh Outman from Colorado Springs and optioned reliever Chris Volstad to triple-A. The move gives Colorado a second left-hander in the bullpen along with Brothers. In five games at Colorado Springs, Outman went 1-0 with an 0.84 ERA and four walks and 14 strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings. Volstad pitched in four games for the Rockies with no record and an 8.53 ERA. He gave up one run in two innings Thursday against the Mets, the first time he pitched in eight days. Volstad was a starter before joining the Rockies this year and being shifted to relief. Weiss said it hasn't been decided whether Volstad will start at Colorado Springs or continue relieving. ... Left-hander Edwar Cabrera, who is on the Rockies' 60-day disabled list with a left shoulder impingement, threw batting practice for 10 minutes Friday at the Rockies' complex in Scottsdale, Ariz., for the first time since he was injured. Cabrera is scheduled to again throw batting practice Tuesday, Rockies trainer Keith Dugger said. Cabrera is not eligible to be activated until May 30. Cabrera will begin a rehabilitation assignment a month sooner if all goes well. Had he been healthy Cabrera would have started the season in the starting rotation at Colorado Springs. ... Cuddyer was back in the Rockies' lineup. After playing 19 innings in a doubleheader Tuesday, Cuddyer had tightness in both hamstrings Wednesday when the Rockies were snowed out. He said he felt fine Thursday, but as a precaution, Weiss scratched him from the lineup. ... The Diamondbacks played their third extra-inning game of the season on Thursday night and won it. They didn't get to their hotel in Denver until 4:30 a.m. MDT. Gibson brushed aside anything to do with travel and the weather and said, "It's cold, we got in late, we didn't get the sleep we want, it's not an issue. It's part of the deal. We understand that going in. It's part of what we prepare for." ... Gregorious homered and doubled in his major-league debut on Thursday at Yankee Stadium. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the seventh Arizona player to homer in his first at-bat with the Diamondbacks, the first to so on his first pitch and the fourth to hit his first career home run in his first at-bat for the Diamondbacks.
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