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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.