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CarGo finds power stroke to back Nicasio

Submitted by Sports on March 15, 2012 – 7:45 amNo Comment

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Rockies continued to swing hot bats to complement some stingy pitching, capping Wednesday’s sweep of a split-squad series by beating the D-backs, 7-4, at Salt River Fields. Winners of five straight, Colorado has scored five runs or more while allowing three runs or fewer in each game of the streak.

Rockies starter Juan Nicasio’s remarkable return this spring continues to be one of the club’s best spring stories. Nicasio broke his neck after being knocked down by a batted ball last August.

In his second Cactus League start, Nicasio went four innings and yielded one unearned run on three hits and a walk while striking out three. He has allowed no earned runs this spring and looks to be in good shape for a spot in the Rox rotation.

Josh Collmenter, the D-backs’ projected No. 5 starter, struggled a bit in the first inning, yielding a three-run homer to Carlos Gonzalez. Collmenter settled down and retired six of his next seven batters, striking out two before completing his two-inning outing.

For Gonzalez, the long ball was his first this spring.

“I’m working on counts, trying to see better pitches. I see better pitches the more pitches I see,” Gonzalez said. “I was expecting that changeup. He likes to use his breaking balls a lot late in the counts. Sometimes you just have to wait for those pitches, and that’s what I did.”

The Rockies picked up four more runs in the third, as Jonathan Herrera and Gonzalez each collected their second hits of the game, the Arizona defense committed a pair of infield errors, and top prospect Nolan Arenado knocked a three-run double into the left-field corner. Herrera went 3-for-3 with a double and two runs scored.

Chris Young was in the middle of both D-backs’ run-scoring rallies. He singled to the pitcher in the fourth and later scored on Arenado’s error on a tough hop at third, then singled in a pair of runs in the fifth frame facing left-handed reliever Matt Reynolds.

Jonathan Griffin connected on his first homer of the spring off Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt in the ninth.

Up next: Making his third start of the spring, Jhoulys Chacin looks to solidify his standing as the projected No. 2 starter for the Rockies against a Cubs split-squad at Salt River Fields. Chacin has pitched five innings this spring, allowing two earned runs on five hits and a walk while striking out four.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com

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