Rockies Cling To Slim Playoff Hopes

One night after clinching their first playoff spot since 2002, the Arizona Diamondbacks can secure the NL West crown on Saturday when they continue a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies.

Arizona (90-70) ended Colorado's franchise-record 11-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory on Friday that eliminated the Rockies from contention for the division title. Brandon Webb won his 18th game by yielding two runs over seven innings, and Conor Jackson hit a two-run homer.

The Diamondbacks are ensured of at least the NL wild card by virtue of the New York Mets' loss to Florida on Friday.

"These guys were yelling and screaming and all excited, they said we were going to the playoffs," left fielder Eric Byrnes said. "Here we are, having a champagne shower and enjoying the night."

The only way the Diamondbacks will not win the NL West is if they lose the last two games of this series and second-place San Diego completes a four-game sweep at Milwaukee this weekend.

Colorado (87-73), meanwhile, dropped two games behind San Diego, the wild card leader, with two games left for both clubs.

"It's been a crazy year so far," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "Maybe the craziness isn't over."

The Rockies batted .323 and scored 76 runs in their winning streak, but were stifled by Webb on Friday. The right-hander had been 0-3 with a 6.47 ERA in his first five starts against Colorado this year.

"They've been hot all year," Webb said. "They have great bats. I think they have one of the best lineups in the National League, if not the best. The roll they've been on, 10-12 straight, I knew it was going to be tough."

It was a difficult night for Todd Helton, who went 0-for-3 with a walk. Helton has never been to the playoffs in his 11-year career.

Edgar Gonzalez (8-3, 4.73 ERA) will make his 12th start of the year for Arizona. He's 4-3 with a 4.14 ERA as a starter, and has also made 20 appearances out of the bullpen.

Since re-joining the rotation on Sept. 11, Gonzalez is 1-1 with a 3.14 ERA in three starts. He lasted just 3 1-3 innings after giving up three runs and eight hits on Sunday in a 7-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Gonzalez pitched with a blister that formed on his index finger as he warmed up in the bullpen. He put glue on the finger before the second and third innings, but couldn't control his pitches.

"It's so hard to throw like that," Gonzalez said. "I wanted to help the team, but it was not working for me this time."

Gonzalez is making his first start of the season against Colorado. He pitched 3 1-3 scoreless innings of relief in a 13-7 loss on Sept. 1 in his only appearance versus the Rockies this year.

His only career start against Colorado came on Aug. 1, 2004, when he was tagged for seven runs over four innings in a 10-2 loss.

The Rockies will give Mark Redman (1-4, 8.67) his third start with the club on Saturday. He was released by Atlanta after going 0-4 with a 10.62 ERA in five starts to begin the season before he signed a minor league contract on Aug. 19 with Colorado - his fourth team in 2007.

Redman hasn't pitched past the fifth inning in either of his two starts with the Rockies. He allowed two runs over 4 1-3 innings in a 6-2 win at San Diego last Saturday.

The veteran left-hander is 2-2 with a 3.80 ERA in four career outings against Arizona, which hasn't faced him in more than two years.


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