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COL@MIL: Nicasio tosses six solid innings to earn win

The D-backs will look to pull even with the Rockies atop the National League West on Friday at Chase Field.

Arizona trails Colorado by a game after Thursday's victory, and the matchup comes in a crucial early season stretch that sees the D-backs play six-straight series against teams in their division.

Taking the hill for manager Kirk Gibson's club will be Brandon McCarthy, who is still looking for his first victory in a D-backs uniform.

McCarthy, who came to Arizona as a free agent in the offseason, has allowed 17 earned runs in 21 2/3 innings pitched.

"I hate putting it into luck's hands, but there's only so much you can do with bad-contact balls blooping in," the 29-year-old right-hander said. "Once it leaves my hand, I can't control it. The innings are mostly falling like that. Most of the innings where I've given up runs, it's just pitches that are finding holes."

McCarthy has only allowed two home runs this season, but is still searching for his first quality start.

If McCarthy hopes to take care of business against Colorado, he'll likely need the help of the team's stellar defense.

"Our defense is off the charts, they've been great." Gibson said. "You're going to make errors, it's just staying with the program and picking each other up. That part has been great."

The Diamondbacks have only committed six errors all season, tied for tops in the Majors.

Taking the mound for the Rockies is Juan Nicasio, who last toed the rubber Sunday against Arizona. He held the D-backs in check through four, but gave up two runs in the fifth, and was removed after throwing 95 pitches.

"I need to command my fastball, because I throw like 90-some pitches in three games," said Nicasio after his last start, who threw 97 pitches in six innings, 95 in five innings and 97 in five innings in his three previous starts.

"The stuff is always there. It's just a matter of being more efficient," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "He's got a power arm. The secondary stuff, he's commanding better than he did this spring. so there's some progress."

The Rockies would love to see their starts go a little bit deeper, as the club sits fourth in the league in innings pitched from their relievers, although Nicasio's short outing had more to do with the pace of the game then his pitch count.

"Even if it was July, I don't think I let him roll [longer] through that one," Weiss said. "He was working hard. There's a pitch count to think about, but common sense is a factor, too. Watching the game as a manager, I've got to get a feel for the effort that a guy is using to get through the game."

D-backs: Gregorius and Montero to return Friday
• Didi Gregorius and Miguel Montero should be back in the lineup after getting Thursday off.

• D-backs starting pitchers were winless in their last 11 starts until Trevor Cahill broke the string on Thursday. In that span the starting rotation posted a 3.09 ERA with eight quality starts.

• Gerardo Parra is on a 10-game hitting streak (.325, 13-for-40), which is tops in the NL and second in the Majors. Seattle's Kyle Seager (14) owns a longer streak. This streak matches Parra's career-high set back between July 29-Aug. 8, 2009.

Rockies: Gonzalez still one shy of 100 home runs
• Carlos Gonzalez remains one home run away from 100 in his career. He hit his last home run April 16 against the Mets.

• As a team, the Rockies hit 30 home runs this month. The last time the Rockies had 30 or more runs in April was in 2004 when they had 35 in the season's opening month.

• Rockies have dropped four of five after winning eight straight.

Worth noting
• The season series is knotted at two after Arizona's victory Thursday. Colorado took two of three from the D-backs last weekend in the only other meeting this season. Last year, Arizona took the season series 10-8.

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