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COL@CIN: Friedrich strikes out six over five frames

With the injury-depleted Dodgers struggling to win without Matt Kemp and a slew of others, the rest of the National League West is trying to use this time to play catch-up to the front-runners, who still have the most wins in the Majors.

Two of those teams attempting to make a June run will meet Monday at Chase Field when the Rockies take on the D-backs.

While the Dodgers have gone 3-7 in their past 10 games, the Rockies are 7-3 and the D-backs are 6-4 over the same time to move within double digits in the games-back column.

For Arizona, the club will trot out veteran lefty Joe Saunders to kick off the three-game series on the mound.

The 30-year-old will try to build off of Trevor Cahill's six-hit shutout Sunday against the Padres.

Saunders pitched well enough to win in his last outing, tossing 5 1/3 innings Tuesday against the Giants and allowing just one run. The bullpen and the offense, however, let him down as the D-backs fell 3-1.

"I felt like I had some big outs when I needed to and the defense played well behind me," Saunders said after the game. "It was just one of those games where you just couldn't buy that big hit, and that happens, so we're just going to have to turn the page and do a better job."

Opposing Saunders for the Rockies will be fellow southpaw Christian Friedrich. The 24-year-old has won two consecutive starts despite surrendering a combined eight earned runs over 11 innings against the Red and Astros.

"I was going back to my game, trying to get ahead, stay ahead and put them away as quick as I can," said Friedrich after his latest win Wednesday. "The quicker I did that, the better off I was."

Friedrich has never faced the D-backs, while Saunders has four wins with a 3.62 ERA against the Rockies since 2007.

Rockies: Nicasio to DL, Moscoso recalled
The Rockies placed starting pitcher Juan Nicasio on the 15-day disabled list Sunday and called up reliever Guillermo Moscoso from Triple-A Colorado Springs.

Nicasio (2-3) left Saturday's game against the Dodgers in the second inning after landing awkwardly while trying to avoid a hard-hit grounder back up the mound. The Rockies diagnosed him with a left knee strain.

"We really don't think that it's anything serious, but he will have a precautionary MRI [Monday]," said manager Jim Tracy. "He's a little sore today and we're going to err on the side of caution."

Nicasio has a 5.28 ERA this season with a 1.62 WHIP and 54 strikeouts.

D-backs: Bell working with Williams
Josh Bell continues to work early with D-backs third-base coach and former Gold Glover Matt Williams on his footwork at third base.

"He's done it, so when a guy like that talks you listen," Bell said.

One of the things Williams preaches is that you field with your feet and not your hands, meaning that if you have proper footwork, the hands will follow.

"I believe it," Bell said. "Feet are very important for everything, just getting you in position to let the rest of your body do the work."

Bell started for the second day in a row Sunday, the first time he has been in the lineup for back-to-back games since his D-backs debut May 21-22. He went 0-for-3 against the Padres on Sunday, but did draw a walk, score a run and make a fine defensive play at third to take a hit away in the sixth inning.

On the season, he's batting just .174.

"It's definitely starting to come, I'm feeling more comfortable just being around the guys," Bell said about settling in with a new team. "That's what I'm looking for, just getting comfortable."

Worth noting
• The Rockies' Wilin Rosario has eight home runs this season and 11 for his career, which dates back to just last September. His 11 home runs since September 2011 are the most among all NL catchers.

• The D-backs' Paul Goldschmidt is riding a career-best 12-game hitting streak and has three home runs in his last four games.

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