While the weather in Denver has been frigid of late, the Colorado Rockies have been red hot.
The surging Rockies try to extend the best home start in franchise history Friday night when they open a three-game set against the Arizona Diamondbacks .
After a pair of games were postponed due to heavy snow, Colorado (11-4) completed a shortened three-game sweep of the New York Mets with Thursday's 11-3 victory. Dexter Fowler , Troy Tulowitzki and Josh Rutledge all went deep for the Rockies, who tied the franchise record for lowest temperature to start a home game at 28 degrees.
Colorado collected a season-high 17 hits in improving to 6-0 on its own field for the first time.
The Rockies have also put together a six-game winning streak overall - their longest since winning seven straight April 9-15, 2011. Besides going 23 for 62 (.371) with runners in scoring position, Colorado has scored 46 runs and allowed 49 hits during its run.
"We were able to create situations with a lot of runners on base and take advantage of the opportunities," said Carlos Gonzalez , who went 3 for 5 to raise his average to .400. "We've got to continue to play this way against whoever comes to our ballpark."
Gonzalez has been especially locked in over the last four games, going 11 for 17 with a homer and nine runs scored. The slugging left fielder is batting .415 with nine homers, 29 runs and 20 RBIs over his last 27 home games against the Diamondbacks.
Gonzalez, though, is just 4 for 23 with nine strikeouts against Friday's scheduled starter Ian Kennedy (1-1, 5.79 ERA), who figures to be well rested after leaving for Denver ahead of his teammates.
"Hope it works," manager Kirk Gibson told MLB's official website. "The altitude has some effect on some guys. Maybe he gets a better night sleep. I tend not to sleep my first night there. We'll get in late, it's going to be cold there and stuff."
Kennedy is coming off a disappointing performance Saturday, allowing six runs and 10 hits - including three to the opposing pitcher - over 5 2-3 innings of a 7-5 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers .
Kennedy, though, has been plenty sharp against the Rockies of late, going 3-1 with a 1.80 ERA over his last five starts in the series. He's struck out 36 and issued just five walks in 35 innings.
Besides having his way with Gonzalez, Kennedy has also made things difficult on Tulowitzki, who's gone 3 for 17 in their matchups. Both Gonzalez and Tulowitzki, though, have taken Kennedy deep.
The Rockies counter with Jhoulys Chacin (2-0, 1.96), who gave up two runs and four hits over five frames Saturday in a 9-5 victory at San Diego. The right-hander is 3-2 with a 2.81 ERA over nine career starts against the Diamondbacks.
Arizona (9-6) dropped back-to-back games at Yankee Stadium before salvaging Thursday's series finale with a 6-2, 12-inning win. Cody Ross hit a go-ahead single before Eric Chavez followed with a three-run double.
"It just shows a lot of character how we won this game," reliever Heath Bell said.
Acquired from Cincinnati in a three-team trade this offseason, 23-year-old Didi Gregorius also came up big in his Diamondbacks debut, going 2 for 5 with his first career homer. The promising shortstop missed the first 14 games with a strained right elbow.
"He's coming off an injury," Gibson said. "We'll be careful with him."
Paul Goldschmidt , batting .429 with a homer and three RBIs during a five-game hitting streak, has reached base in all 15 contests. He's hitting .333 with 10 RBIs over 12 career games at Coors Field.
The Diamondbacks have won 10 of 16 in Colorado.
|April 15, 2013||Aaron Hill||15-Day DL||Broken left hand|
|April 14, 2013||Aaron Hill||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore left hand|
|April 13, 2013||Jason Kubel||15-Day DL||Strained left quad|
|March 31, 2013||Didi Gregorius||15-Day DL||Right elbow strain|
|March 31, 2013||Didi Gregorius||15-Day DL||Right elbow strain|
|March 27, 2013||Willie Bloomquist||15-Day DL||Strained right intercostal|
|February 14, 2013||Edwar Cabrera||60-Day DL||Left shoulder impingement|
DENVER (AP) -- Jhoulys Chacin 's strong start ended painfully.
Chacin pitched effectively into the seventh inning and became the first Rockies starter to throw 100 pitches in a game since last June before leaving with an injury as Colorado beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1 Friday night.
"I'm a little bit worried because I don't want to miss a start," Chacin said while wearing a wrap around his lower back. "I want to keep pitching, especially with how we're playing now. Everything is going well and I just want to keep helping my team."
Troy Tulowitzki hit a two-run homer and Chacin helped himself by driving in a run with a sacrifice fly as the Rockies won their seventh in row and remained unbeaten in seven home games this season.
Chacin (3-0) grabbed his lower left back after throwing his fourth pitch to Arizona's Cody Ross with one out in the seventh inning. He was taken out of the game after a brief conference near the mound with manager Walt Weiss and team trainers and replaced by reliever Wilton Lopez .
"We hope it's nothing serious," said the Rockies' Chris Nelson , who scored on Chacin's sacrifice fly after tripling to lead off the fifth. "But when you see your pitcher walk off the mound like that, it's a rough one for the whole team."
The team said Chacin, who allowed three hits in 6 1-3 innings and struck out five, exited the game with left oblique stiffness and would be re-evaluated Saturday.
Chacin was pitching a gem before the injury.
"I was throwing my fastball and my sinker down in the zone, attacking the hitter," he said. "I threw a lot of first pitch strikes and that really helped me."
But he felt a twinge on his 99th pitch and and a painful pull on his 100th.
"I don't know how bad it is," he said. "They'll see tomorrow how it is. I feel better now, but it was really painful when I threw the ball."
The last time a Colorado starter reached the century mark in pitches was last June 12, a stretch of 117 games. It was the longest string in the majors since records started being kept by STATS in 1988. Before the Rockies' streak, the longest string of starters not throwing 100 pitches in a game was held by Washington, which went 33 games from Aug. 31, 2011, to April 10, 2012.
"He threw all of his pitches over for strikes," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "We never really got ahead of him. He got the slider over alot early in the count and we laid off of that. He had good depth to it. That's probably the best I've seen him throw."
Chacin faced the minimum through four innings, inducing Paul Goldschmidt to ground into an inning ending double play after allowing his first hit, a single by Gerardo Parra , to start the fourth.
In the fifth, Chacin worked out of a two-out, bases-loaded jam by fanning his Arizona counterpart, Ian Kennedy . The Diamondbacks got an unearned run on third baseman Nelson's throwing error in the ninth before Rafael Betancourt closed the game out for his sixth save in six chances.
Kennedy (1-2), who allowed three runs on three hits in six innings, was overpowering early. He retired the first 10 batters he faced, half of them on strikeouts. With one out in the fourth, Josh Rutledge became the first Rockies batter to reach when he drew a walk.
After Carlos Gonzalez struck out, Tulowitzki got hold of Kennedy's first offering and drove it over the left field wall for his fifth home run of the season. He had come into the at-bat hitting .166 in 18 plate appearances against Kennedy, though it was his second homer off the Diamondbacks' starter.
"I had to be pretty much perfect because Chacin threw a pretty good game," Kennedy said. "He kept us off balance. Tough to win that one with someone throwing like that."
NOTES: Diamondbacks batting coach Don Baylor , who was the Rockies' inaugural manager and led them to their first postseason berth in 1995, was inducted Thursday into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. ... Nine of Tulowitzki's 15 RBIs this season have given the Rockies a lead. He hit a homer in consecutive games for the second time this season. ... Kennedy has lost consecutive starts against the Rockies after being 3-0 in four previous matchups.