Arizona Diamondbacks (62-90) at Colorado Rockies (61-91)
Thursday, September 18 - 8:40 PM EST
Coors Field, Denver, Colorado
Justin Morneau tries to continue his push toward the National League batting title Thursday when the Colorado Rockies begin a four-game series with the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks. Morneau increased his National League-leading average to .320 - two points ahead of Pittsburgh's Josh Harrison - after going 3-for-4 while matching a season high with six RBIs in Colorado's 16-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday. Morneau equaled a club record with five RBIs in an inning during Colorado's team-record eight-run first as he tries to become the second consecutive Rockie - and former Minnesota Twin - to wear an NL batting crown.
The Rockies (61-91) scored 26 runs in their last two games and are hitting an eye-popping .320 at Coors Field, where they are 41-36. Arizona completed a 3-3 homestand with its second straight loss to San Francisco - 4-2 on Wednesday - and leads Colorado by one game in the battle to avoid last place in the NL West. The Rockies' Yohan Flande is still searching for his first major league victory and opposes Vidal Nuno, who is winless since being acquired from the New York Yankees in early July.
TV: 8:40 p.m. ET, FSN Arizona, ROOT (Colorado)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Diamondbacks LH Vidal Nuno (2-11, 4.58 ERA) vs. Rockies LH Yohan Flande (0-5, 5.04)
Nuno fell to 0-6 with a 3.68 ERA in 12 starts with Arizona after permitting six runs and eight hits in five innings of a 6-5 loss to San Diego on Friday. It was the most runs the 27-year-old Californian allowed since coming to the Diamondbacks after yielding two or fewer runs in his previous five turns. "It is annoying that I got some run support (Friday) and that I blew it a little bit," Nuno told reporters. "Trying to do too much at times and overthinking."
Flande, who is auditioning for a spot in the 2015 rotation, last started Aug. 17 when he received a no-decision after allowing four runs while striking out six in 5 1/3 innings of Colorado's 10-5 win over Cincinnati. The 28-year-old Dominican native has received 15 runs of support during his eight major-league starts in which he is 0-5 with a 5.73 ERA. Flande made five scoreless relief appearances since being recalled Sept. 1 from Triple-A Colorado Springs and was credited with a hold.
1. Rockies OF Michael Cuddyer, who was also Morneau's teammate in Minnesota, won the 2013 NL batting title with a .331 average.
2. Colorado has homered in 18 straight games - one shy of club record set May 23-July 3, 2002.
3. Arizona has won nine of the 15 meetings in 2014 - four of six at Coors Field - as it tries to win its fifth consecutive season series over Colorado.
PREDICTION: Rockies 9, Diamondbacks 8