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Rockies Desperate For Win, Take On Arizona In Series Finale

(Sports Network) - The Colorado Rockies' postseason hopes could hinge on a series that takes place this weekend. Tonight, though, they try to avoid falling further behind in the races, as they attempt to salvage the finale of a three-game series with the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.

Colorado has lost the first two games of this series and has dropped six of its eight matchups in Arizona this season. On Wednesday, Stephen Drew and Adam LaRoche homered off Ubaldo Jimenez and Kelly Johnson added a two-run blast in the eighth inning as Arizona rallied to an 8-4 win.

The Diamondbacks won on the same day they agreed to terms with Kevin Towers on a two-year contract to become the club's executive vice president and general manager.

Melvin Mora and Todd Helton hit consecutive homers in the opening inning for the Rockies, who grabbed a 4-0 lead, but they faltered and remained three games behind NL West-leading San Diego and three back of Atlanta, the wild card leader.

Colorado starts a six-game homestand on Friday that will open with three games against the San Francisco Giants.

"We need to take a major step forward and do something tomorrow night," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "You certainly wouldn't feel too good about yourselves from a momentum standpoint going home after being swept here. Tomorrow is a very big game for us."

Rodrigo Lopez (7-14) allowed five hits and four runs over five innings to win his second straight start after losing seven consecutive decisions.

Jimenez (19-7) was charged with five hits and five runs over four frames and lost for the first time in his last four appearances.

Getting the call for the Rockies tonight will be left-hander Jeff Francis, who is 4-5 with a 4.61 ERA. In his first start back from a stint on the disabled list, Francis was charged with the loss on Sept. 13 against San Diego, which reached him for a pair of runs and five hits in three innings.

Francis, who will likely be limited to about 80 pitches tonight, is 7-5 lifetime against the Diamondbacks with a 4.75 ERA in 18 starts.

Arizona, meanwhile, will counter with righty Ian Kennedy, who is unbeaten in his last eight starts. Kennedy, though, hasn't received a decision in his last three starts, despite allowing just one earned run in those outings. On Friday in Pittsburgh Kennedy surrendered two runs (one earned) and five hits in six innings, but did not factor in the decision of his team's 4-3 loss.

Kennedy, who is 0-1 in four starts against the Rockies, is 2-0 in his last five starts, while pitching to a 1.06 ERA in that span. He is 9-9 on the year with a 3.79 ERA.

"In Ian's case, they totally changed his routine," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "They really worked on his mechanics, they worked on his tempo. And sometimes when suggestions are made, change isn't welcome, but after a while you're almost ready to get on your knees and beg, 'Alright, what do I need to do?' You become much more open to things. I think that was the case with Ian, for sure."

Colorado has won nine of its 17 meetings with the Diamondbacks this season.