Diamondbacks-Rockies Preview


It's unlikely the Arizona Diamondbacks will complete an improbable run to the postseason, but at the very least they will go down fighting.

They seek their sixth victory in seven tries Sunday when they play the third of four games against the host Colorado Rockies.

Arizona (76-75) remained 4 1/2 games behind St. Louis for the NL's second wild-card spot with an 8-7 victory over Colorado on Saturday, as four players had two hits.

Aaron Hill tripled and finished with four RBIs for the Diamondbacks, who have outscored opponents 47-24 while winning five of six.

"We're not out of it. We've still got a little time left,'' said outfielder Jason Kubel, who had two hits to end a 0-for-21 slump. "If we keep this up hopefully we put more pressure on teams in front of us, but we've got to keep it up ourselves.''

Arizona starter Ian Kennedy is doing his best to keep his team in the hunt.

Kennedy (14-11, 4.08 ERA) has been especially solid over his last two starts, allowing four hits in 7 1-3 innings to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0 on Sept. 11 before giving up a run over eight innings of Tuesday's 3-2 win over San Diego.

The right-hander is 3-0 with a 1.98 ERA in his last four outings.

"He's aggressive now. You see his velocity up," catcher Miguel Montero said. "And his command, his command on his secondary stuff, he's been able to throw it for a strike. That's big. It's not like they're just sitting on fastball because he can't locate a breaking ball.

"Right now he can throw every pitch for a strike.''

Kennedy has also been excellent versus Colorado of late, posting a 1.23 ERA while winning his last three starts against the Rockies, including striking out a career high-tying 12 on June 5.

Wilin Rosario homered as part of his third straight three-hit effort Saturday, but Colorado (58-93) still suffered its eighth straight defeat and 15th in 17 games.

"It's a very difficult chore to ask these guys to keep coming back two or three times,'' manager Jim Tracy said. "They get down early, they get us back in to the game, they get us a lead. We have the bad inning and they continue to do more.''

The Rockies will send Jeff Francis to the mound Sunday.

Francis (5-6, 5.58) has lost his last two starts - both to San Francisco - after he allowed two runs in five innings of Tuesday's 6-3 defeat. He has a 6.23 ERA over his last four outings.

The left-hander had gone 0-6 with a 7.68 ERA in his previous seven starts against the Diamondbacks before allowing two runs in six innings of a 4-2 win over them July 25.