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CIN@COL: Chacin pitches five innings of two-run ball

Even with their hot start to the 2012 campaign, the Arizona Diamondbacks have shown a crucial weakness from Spring Training through the early part of the regular season:

A lack of production from No. 3 starter Josh Collmenter.

It won't get much easier for the struggling righty on Saturday, as he takes the mound against the Rockies in hitter-friendly Coors Field with the D-backs looking to rebound from their second loss of the season.

Collmenter will oppose right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, who also was hit hard in his 2012 debut. Chacin figures to play a key role in whether the Rockies can make a push in the National League West this season. The four runs in four innings Chacin allowed in his first start weren't a good sign.

But D-backs general manager Kevin Towers refused to put too much emphasis on early April starts -- specifically in Collmenter's case. He shrugged off the notion of demoting Collmenter, who played a big part in the club's success in 2011.

"It's early in the season, we certainly understand one bad outing," Towers said of Collmenter, who lasted just three innings against the Giants last Sunday. "It shouldn't be we're going to send this guy back because he's had a bad outing."

Rockies manager Jim Tracy took a similar view with Chacin, noting he isn't worried about his confidence. In fact, Tracy said it's quite the opposite.

"This guy is not afraid," Tracy said. "As a matter of fact, maybe there is a small part of him that wants to do it and wants to do it way too quickly. If it's anything, it's probably that."

Chacin has fared relatively well against Arizona. In seven games, he has a 3-2 mark with a 2.82 ERA, and D-backs hitters are batting just .186 against him.

For this start, Chacin will be making a few mechanical adjustments, including re-positioning his feet and tilting his head toward home plate when he throws. Overall, Tracy said he's just looking for Chacin to simplify his windup.

"When I say mechanical, I don't want that to be suggested that there are major things," Tracy said. "What I'm talking about is just a subtle adjustment to be able to hold your head position with each and every pitch. You can see him take a quantum leap from one start to the next."

D-backs: Collmenter facing tough out in CarGo
Collmenter's toughest challenge Saturday could be getting Rockies' slugger Carlos Gonzalez out.

In 10 plate appearances against Collmenter, the left-handed hitting Gonzalez has reached base six times with four hits and a home run. He is one of three current Rockies hitters -- Dexter Fowler and Troy Tulowitzki the other two -- with a home run against Collmenter.

• Righty reliever Takashi Saito threw a 10-pitch inning and recorded two strikeouts in an extended spring training game on Friday. Saito will be eligible to come off the disabled list (strained right calf) next week.

• With his 0-for-5 night on Friday, Willie Bloomquist snapped a 12-game hitting streak dating to last year. His average dropped to .296 on the young season.

Rockies: Hip pain not slowing Tulo
Troy Tulowitzki has been playing with pain in his right hip throughout the season's first week, but the only impact it has had on him is a positive one, according to the Rockies shortstop.

"There's kind of an art to giving everything you've got, but doing it properly, not trying to overdo things," said Tulowitzki, who sustained the injury in his team's season-opening series in Houston. "Sometimes that makes you better, too. You play within yourself, relax and don't make your body do things it can't do."

Tulowitzki went 4-for-13 with two RBIs and two runs scored against the Giants, and he was 3-for-4 on Friday night.

• In their last two games, Rockies relievers have combined for 9 2/3 scoreless innings. It was the bullpen that earned the victory in a 7-6 comeback win on Friday. Colorado starter Juan Nicasio left with his club trailing 6-2.

• The Rockies have tallied 28 extra-base hits in their first seven games this season.

Worth noting
• The Rockies managed just five wins in 18 contests against the D-backs in 2011, including a 3-6 mark at Coors Field. Colorado hasn't won a series against Arizona since September 2010 -- with a chance to end that drought Saturday.

• After his game-winning double on Friday night, Rockies first baseman Todd Helton needs one extra-base hit to tie Dave Parker for 50th on the all-time extra-base hits list at 940.

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