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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, September 23rd (All times eastern)

Arizona Diamondbacks (76-75) at Colorado Rockies (58-93), 3:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Arizona - Ian Kennedy (14-11, 4.08) Colorado - Jeff Francis (5-6, 5.58)

(Sports Network) - With their faint playoff hopes hanging in the balance, the Arizona Diamondbacks will shoot for a series win this afternoon against the Colorado Rockies in the third portion of a four-game set at Coors Field.

The Diamondbacks are 4 1/2 games off the final wild card berth in the National League, but time is beginning to run thin. After handing the Rockies a 15-5 beating in Friday's series opener, Arizona posted an 8-7 victory last night behind timely hits and a strong bullpen.

Aaron Hill had a bases-clearing triple during a five-run sixth inning and finished with four RBI, while Jason Kubel had two hits and a pair of runs batted in. Paul Goldschmidt and Chris Johnson had two hits and an RBI apiece for the D-backs, who have won five of six and seven of 10 games.

"We still got a little time left," said Kubel, who ended an 0-for-23 slump. "If we keep this up, we can make things interesting and hopefully put more pressure on the teams in front of us."

Brad Bergensen got the win after tossing two scoreless innings of relief and J.J. Putz picked up his 31st save with a perfect ninth. Patrick Corbin struggled in the start and was tagged for five runs and nine hits in three innings. Five relievers then held Colorado to two runs.

Arizona will visit San Francisco for three games on its road swing.

The Diamondbacks will send ace Ian Kennedy to the mound Sunday and he is 3-0 with a 1.98 earned run average in his last four starts -- all Arizona wins. Kennedy fired eight innings of one-run ball in a 3-2 victory over San Diego on Tuesday, improving to 14-11 in 30 starts with a 4.08 earned run average.

Kennedy, who is 4-1 in his past five decisions, has won both of his meetings with the Rockies this season and is 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA in 10 career starts against them. The righty hurled eight innings and gave up two runs in a 6-3 victory over Colorado on July 23.

Colorado continued its downward spiral last night, losing for the eighth straight time and for the 15th time in 17 tries.

Jhoulys Chacin tossed the first four innings for the Rockies and allowed three runs and seven hits. Carlos Torres then took the loss for permitting five runs and three hits in an inning of work.

"I started throwing strikes in the first inning," Chacin said on the club's website. "They just got me. They started swinging and hitting [to] the gap. They hit it where nobody was."

Andrew Brown and Wilin Rosario both homered for Colorado, which got three hits and two RBI from Jordan Pacheco. Carlos Gonzalez struck out as a pinch hitter and had been bothered by a hamstring issue the past few games.

The Rockies also will host the Chicago Cubs on this residency.

Jeff Francis will try and stop a four-start winless drought (0-2) when he takes the ball for Colorado. Francis lost his second straight outing on Tuesday in a 6-3 setback at San Francisco and yielded a pair of runs in five innings, falling to 5-6 in 21 starts with a 5.58 earned run average.

The lanky left-hander defeated Arizona on the road back on July 25 and hurled six innings of two-run ball in a 4-2 triumph. In 21 career starts against the D-backs, Francis is 8-7 with a 4.70 ERA.

Arizona has beaten Colorado eight times in 13 meetings this season.

09/23 10:43:49 ET