D-backs top Rox to take series

D-backs top Rox to take series

DENVER -- The D-backs left Coors Field on Thursday feeling pretty good about themselves.

Their 6-2 win over the Rockies gave them the series and kept them tied for first place in the division after the Dodgers beat the Phillies.

They also were able to deal a serious blow to the Rockies' fleeting playoff hopes as they bumped Colorado to nine games back.

"The goal was to sweep the series," Arizona outfielder Adam Dunn said. "But whenever you can take two out of three from the team, that's pretty much all you can ask for."

The game also showed that after two straight sub-par outings, Dan Haren is back on track.

Haren came into the game having allowed 10 runs in his previous two starts, and after a somewhat shaky first two innings, his stuff seemed to get better as the game went along.

"I haven't really been throwing the ball too well lately," Haren said. "I threw the ball great for two months and have been going through a stretch where I'm scuffling a little bit, but you know, that's just part of a long season. Making 33, 34 starts, not all of them are going to be great.

"I just felt a lot better out there, just smooth with my mechanics and was able to put my ball where I wanted to."

The result was two runs allowed on seven hits over eight innings as he improved his record to 13-6.

The Rockies grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second while Haren was still finding his way, and it looked like it was going to be a struggle for the D-backs as Glendon Rusch did his best Sandy Koufax impression in holding Arizona to one hit through four.

Rusch's command seemed to disappear in the fifth, and not long after, so did the Rockies' lead.

Mark Reynolds started the fifth off with a double, and one out later Chris Snyder homered to give Arizona a 2-1 lead.

Chris Burke followed Snyder to the plate and when the count went to 3-1, Dunn announced to the dugout that Burke was going to homer.

"Pretty bold prediction," Burke said.

"I told him I went out on a limb," Dunn said. "Marky Mark [Mark Reynolds] over there said I went out on a small limb."

That's because Burke came into the game hitting .196 and had not homered since last September, a span of 166 at-bats. However, he hammered the Rusch offering over the left-field wall to put the D-backs up, 3-1.

When asked about his soothsaying prowess, Dunn replied, "I see dead people."

Huh. Well, he also drives in runs, as he capped the inning with a two-run single off reliever Matt Herges as Arizona took command of the game.

Burke will be in the lineup at second base again Friday when the D-backs open a three-game set against the Astros, the team he played with before being dealt to the desert in December.

"I've been feeling better at the plate, and it sure is nice to get back and play some infield," said Burke, who has mainly played in the outfield. "That was fun. It'll be a good time in Houston, I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of different people."

That was all the run support that Haren needed. In a concession to the mile-high altitude, Haren threw fewer breaking balls than normal.

"Here, the curveballs don't quite move as good as other places, so I used the things that were a little harder and a little sharper -- the fastball and cut fastball," he said.

Scoring has been down in recent years at Coors Field, with the Rockies storing baseballs in a humidor to help keep them from drying out. Knowing that the balls would be different than the ones used in batting practice, Haren procured special baseballs for his between-starts bullpen session here.

"I try to use some of the balls from the humidor here when I throw my bullpen [sessions]," he said. "It's a different feel. I think the big thing here is the ability to throw strikes, because if you start walking guys here, you get in trouble."

Arizona is now 10-2 against the Rockies this season with six games left between the two teams.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.