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Stranded Runners Hurt Rockies In Loss To D-Backs

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Colorado Rockies v Arizona Diamondbacks
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PHOENIX (AP) – The Colorado Rockies banged out one hit after another, with four players getting three each.

The problem was moving those guys around.

Colorado racked up 13 hits, but stranded nine runners on the bases, leading to a 9-4 loss to the NL West-leading Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.

“The difference in the game obviously lies, from the standpoint that we had just as much traffic out there as they did,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “When they got traffic out there, they hit balls toward the gap or hit balls over the fence. We stranded runners.”

The Rockies certainly had their chances.

Colorado had Diamondbacks starter Wade Miley (2-1) in trouble in the first and fourth innings, but scored just one run in each. Todd Helton, Carlos Gonzalez, Chris Iannetta and Kevin Kouzmanoff had three hits each, but combined for no runs. Dexter Fowler hit his first homer of the season, but it came in the eighth inning, with Arizona already up five runs.

Combined with Aaron Cook’s second straight shaky outing, it didn’t give the Rockies much of a chance.

“You need someone periodically to take a big at-bat,” Tracy said. “Also, in fairness to the situation, multiple runs that quickly (and) you are climbing out of a hole consistently. That makes it very difficult. Obviously not a winnable game for us because of the damage they did to us offensively.”

Miguel Montero and Justin Upton did most of the damage, each hitting a homer and driving in three runs in Arizona’s team record-tying 11th straight home win.

Arizona had been getting good pitching, even before the streak, and has played solid defense most of the season. Now that the bats have started to come back around, the Diamondbacks are pulling away in the division.

Gerardo Parra had a superb all-around game against the Rockies, with a sliding catch in the first inning, a two-run triple off Cook (3-8), four of Arizona’s 14 hits and three runs.

Montero broke his own team record for a catcher with his 44th extra-base hit, a three-run homer in the third inning that extended his hitting streak to nine games.

Upton matched a career high with his 26th homer, a two-run shot in the eighth inning, and made a spectacular catch against the wall in foul territory on a drifting pop-up by Troy Tulowitzki in the fifth.

Miley benefited from it all, pitching six effective innings in his third career start.

Arizona has now won eight straight overall, its longest streak since 2008, and the home streak matches the mark set in 2000 and 2003. With less than a month left in the season, the Diamondbacks are six games ahead of the defending World Series champion Giants in the NL West.

“They are playing really well,” said Cook, who was roughed up for the second straight start. “They are just hot and going out there with a lot of confidence, playing care free. “When you are playing a team with that much confidence, it doesn’t give you much room for error.”

The Diamondbacks have been on quite a run since a six-game road losing streak threatened to derail their season.

They’ve done it with stellar pitching and opportunistic hitting.

The pitching was decent during the losing streak and even better during the winning run, the staff ERA at 0.71 before Tuesday. The offense has started to kick in, too, with the team hitting .281 with seven homers and 28 RBIs through the first seven games of the streak.

Arizona got both against the Rockies.

Roughed up in his major league debut, Miley bounced back with a solid performance against Washington on Thursday, allowing five hits over six scoreless innings in an 8-1 win.

The young left-hander got off to a shaky start against the Rockies, walking Fowler to lead off the game and later giving up a run-scoring single to Helton.

Colorado got another run off him in the fourth on Iannetta’s run-scoring single and had two on in the sixth, but Kouzmanoff was doubled up at second on center fielder Collin Cowgill’s running catch.

Miley didn’t come back out after allowing two runs on nine hits.

“I still get a little quick in my head, get going a little too fast and have to back off and slow the game down a little bit,” Miley said. “But a win is a win.”

His outing was plenty good enough the way Arizona’s offense knocked Cook around.

Parra got it started in the third inning with a two-run triple when Fowler took a bad angle on a ball in the gap in center, and Upton made it 3-1 with a groundball to the right side.

The Diamondbacks had Cook on the ropes again in the fifth inning and Montero had the knockout swing, lining his 13th homer over the wall in right for a 6-2 lead.

Cook allowed six runs on seven hits in 4 1-3 innings after being bounced around for six runs over five innings in his last start.

“It is tough when you are out there pitching and you’re basically putting them in a hole being three runs down early,” Cook said. “Then you start to press a little bit.”

Notes: A couple dozen service men and women took their oath of service before the game. … Tulowitzki is 6 for 52 in 13 games against the Diamondbacks this season after going hitless in five at-bats. … RHP Josh Collmenter will try to finish off the series against the Rockies on Wednesday. The rookie scattered five hits in 5 1-3 scoreless innings against San Diego his last time out. … Arizona gets Thursday off before starting a big three-game trip at San Francisco. … RHP Emil Rogers, Colorado’s starter in the series finale, has 29 strikeouts and allowed 15 earned runs in 29 1-3 innings in five starts since being put back in the rotation.

By JOHN MARSHALL, AP Sports Writer

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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