Saunders Shines In 3-1 D-backs Win Over Rockies

Joe Saunders snapped a nasty streak of starts, this time giving up only one run over eight innings pitched, and the Snakes secured the opening game of the Rockies series.

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Saunders Goes Eight, Leads Diamondbacks To 3-1 Victory

Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) - Joe Saunders pitched eight stellar innings and Kelly Johnson hit a two-run homer, as the Arizona Diamondbacks edged the Colorado Rockies, 3-1, in the opener of a three-game series at Chase Field.

Saunders (3-6) allowed one run on six hits with seven strikeouts for the Diamondbacks, who halted a three-game skid. Ryan Roberts added an RBI in the victory.

"It was nice to get out there and show people what I can do," said Saunders. "The biggest key tonight was throwing early strikes."

Ryan Spilborghs drove in the only run for the Rockies, who have dropped two straight after a three-game win streak and fell 2 1/2 games behind the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants, who blanked the Cubs earlier Tuesday.

Jorge De La Rosa (8-5) suffered the loss after he yielded three runs on six hits with five strikeouts and one walk over seven innings.

The Rockies are three games off the pace in the wild card standings.

The Diamondbacks got all the runs they needed with a two-out rally in the third inning. Stephen Drew singled, stole second base and scored on a double to left field by Roberts. The next batter was Johnson, who drilled a fastball over the wall in left. Johnson's 23rd home run of the season, this one of the opposite-field variety, made it 3-0.

"He threw seven innings, and other than that one inning, he was very effective," said Rockies manager Jim Tracy about De La Rosa's outing.

Saunders worked around a two-out double in the fourth, did the same after a two-out single in the fifth, and again successfully got out of the inning following a one-out base hit in the sixth. He then pitched a perfect top of the seventh.

In the eighth, the Rockies finally reached the scoreboard. Miguel Olivo hit a leadoff double and Spilborghs, a pinch-hitter, laced an RBI base hit to center field.

However, Dexter Fowler flied out to deep center before Saunders struck out both Jonathan Herrera and Carlos Gonzalez to escape further damage.

Juan Gutierrez struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 11th save of 2010.

Both teams had six hits ... Arizona ended 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position ... Saunders halted a two-start skid, while De La Rosa saw his streak of three consecutive victories stopped. De La Rosa fell to 5-3 in 13 career games (nine starts) against the D'Backs ... Attendance was 37,460.

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D-backs playing spoilers before big crowd

It seems like people in these parts took notice of the fact that this is the last homestand of the 2010 season. A crowd of 37,460 is on hand at Chase Field tonight as the D-backs go for their 60th win and try to put more pressure on the Colorado Rockies in their hunt for another Rocktober.

Wow, that number seems too high. I mean there plenty of folks here, but 37 grand-plus? All right then. 

The Diamondbacks are rewarding the customers with a 3-0 lead in the seventh inning. Both teams have been warned by home plate umpire Doug Eddings after Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa threw a pitch that buzzed the D-backs Stephen Drew in the fifth.

That came after Arizona starter Joe Saunders hit Colorado’s hottest hitter, Troy Tulowitzki with a pitch in the fourth.

The D-backs scored all three of their runs with two out in the third, on a Drew single, Ryan Roberts’ double and a two-run home run by Kelly Johnson, his 23rd of the season.

Oh by the way, the D-backs just set a new single-season record for striking out with 1,400.

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D-backs' Final Home Stand Begins With Mountain-High Rockies, 6:40 P.M. AZT

(Sports Network) - The Colorado Rockies try to continue their incredible September surge this evening when they open a three-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.

Colorado has gone 13-5 this month to draw within 1 1/2 games of the first place San Francisco Giants in the National League West, while sitting 3 1/2 games back of the Atlanta Braves in the wild card. The Rockies, though, endured an awful loss on Sunday in Los Angeles, as they blew a five-run lead before falling 7-6 in 11 innings at Dodger Stadium.

Still and all, it was just the third loss in the last 16 games for the Rockies.

"We put ourselves in a position to win it, all we had to do was play solid baseball," said closer Huston Street, who blew the save in the ninth. "It's a very tough loss, but it's definitely not a back-breaker."

Troy Tulowitzki was 0-for-4 in the setback, but has been a huge reason behind the Rockies' run here, as the shortstop leads the majors with 14 home runs and 32 RBI this month. He is tied for the fourth-most home runs in the month of September since 1990 and has four multi-home run games this season -- all in the past 11 games.

Tulowitzki's run could continue tonight, as he is hitting .352 with five homers and 13 RBI versus Arizona this season.

Hoping to slow him down this evening will be lefty Joe Saunders, who has lost his last two starts and is 2-6 with the Diamondbacks this season with a 4.88 ERA. Saunders was defeated in Cincinnati on Wednesday, as he allowed seven runs (four earned) and nine hits in 7 1/3 innings.

Saunders was roughed up by the Rockies two starts ago for seven runs (four earned) in just 2 1/3 frames.

Arizona enters tonight's series opener licking its wounds from an ugly three- game sweep over the weekend at the hands of the woeful Pittsburgh Pirates. The Diamondbacks have now lost eight of their last 10.

Trying to add to that misery tonight will be lefty Jorge De La Rosa, who has won his last four decisions. De La Rosa won his third straight start on Wednesday against San Diego, as he surrendered five runs and six hits in 7 1/3 frames to run his record to 8-4 to go along with a 4.25 ERA.

De La Rosa beat Saunders and Arizona on September 10 and is 5-2 lifetime against the Diamondbacks with a 2.00 ERA in 12 games, eight of which have been starts.

Colorado has won nine of its 15 meetings with the Diamondbacks this season.

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