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TOR@NYY: Phelps fans nine in four frames to earn win

David Phelps had a chance to stake his claim as part of the Yankees' starting rotation his last time out, but he couldn't quite solidify it because of one shaky inning.

The Bronx Bombers right-hander will get another chance on Wednesday against the Rockies in his second outing since replacing Ivan Nova in the rotation.

It's the second act of a three-game set at Coors Field, and the Rockies will counter with right-hander Juan Nicasio, who has yet to lose a game this season.

But Nicasio's 3-0 record doesn't tell the whole story for the right-hander, who hasn't lasted past the fifth inning in any of his past five starts. He's averaged 19.1 pitches per inning this season.

As for Phelps -- 1-1 with a 5.56 ERA -- the right-hander was sharp last week against Houston in every inning but the fourth, when he surrendered four runs and needed 30 pitches.

"I felt like I could have just really grabbed the reins and taken care of things," Phelps said of trying to earn a permanent spot in the rotation. "But it's baseball. Stuff happens, and you've just got to do better next time."

Next time arrives on Wednesday with Phelps looking to even the series following a 2-0 Rockies victory in the opener. The Yankees have now lost their last five games in Colorado after their bats went cold on Tuesday, mustering just four singles.

Third baseman Chris Nelson made his return to Coors Field after spending four seasons with the Rockies. He was traded last week and went 0-for-3 in his first game back.

Yankees: Ailing Nunez hopes to avoid DL
Yankees shortstop Eduardo Nunez was out of the lineup on Tuesday, the result of tightness in his left rib cage. Manager Joe Girardi was hopeful Nunez will be able to return soon and avoid a stint on the disabled list.

"You kind of go day by day and see," Girardi said. "And if you really feel it's going to be close to 15 days, then I think you make a move. We're on Day 2, so I think it's too early, but we'll see."

Nunez received treatment during Monday's off-day and underwent an MRI exam that revealed no structural damage.

Rockies: Tulowitzki nursing groin injury
Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was out of the lineup for the second time in his last four games during the series opener, and his status remains unclear for Wednesday.

"I just felt sore, went out there and wanted to play smart and not do anything crazy," Tulowitzki said. "You guys saw me move around out there. I was definitely taking it easy, being smart."

An MRI exam on Monday revealed the injury to be a slight strain, and Tulowitzki ran on the field before Tuesday's game.

Worth noting
• Nicasio has faced only four current Yankees hitters, and none has more than three at-bats against the right-hander. The lone extra-base hit came from Travis Hafner, who has a three-run homer, a walk and a lineout in his career against Nicasio.

• The Yankees have posted a 31-18 record all time against the National League West. They have lost just three of 16 series.

• Rockies first baseman Todd Helton is hitting .319 with a homer and six RBIs in 13 career games against the Yankees.

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