Rockies 7, Diamondbacks 4

The comebackers are still a bit of a challenge for Juan Nicasio,

though everything else is going very smoothly.

The Colorado right-hander, who had his rookie season end last

Aug. 5 when a line drive by Washington’s Ian Desmond hit him in the

head and his fall to the ground caused a broken neck, tossed four

impressive innings Wednesday night as the Rockies beat the Arizona

Diamondback 7-4 in a matchup of split squads.

Nicasio allowed one unearned run in his 79-pitch outing and

hasn’t allowed an earned run in seven innings this spring.

”I threw might fastball inside and my slider for strikes in the

dirt and I felt all my pitches were very good,” said Nicasio, who

needed surgery to repair the C-1 vertebrae in his neck. ”I’m ready

for a whole game I had good command of my pitches and every day I’m

feeling better and better.”

Arizona hit two balls up the middle – one off the bat of Chris

Young that Nicasio was unable to field – but he didn’t appear to

shy away from either play and said he feels comfortable on the

mound in all situations.

”I’m not scared. It’s not scary,” he said.

At the time of his injury last year, he was 4-4 with 4.14 ERA

and was coming off a career-high 10 strikeout effort against San

Diego.

Carlos Gonzalez hit a three-run homer in the first inning and

added an RBI single in the third as the Rockies scored seven times

in the first three innings.

The Diamondbacks, who lost to San Diego earlier in the day, have

lost nine of their last 11 spring games.

Jonathan Griffin hit a long home run for Arizona in the ninth

inning off Colorado closer Rafael Betancourt. Ryan Roberts had a

pair of singles and Young added a two-run single for the

Diamondbacks.

Gonzalez, who had only three singles in his 15 spring at-bats

coming in, homered deep to right center off Arizona starter Josh

Collmenter to score Dexter Fowler and Jonathan Herrera, who also

had three hits for Colorado. He drove in Herrera again in the third

with a single up the middle off Wade Miley.

”I’ve been working on counts, trying to see more and better

pitches,” Gonzalez said. ”(The home run) was a change-up inside,

and I was expecting that pitch at that count (2-2). It was right on

the inside corner, really good to pull.”

Collmenter, who missed his last start due to right forearm

tightness, struck out two in two innings. He allowed a walk to

Fowler and an infield single off his glove by Herrera before

allowing Gonzalez’s shot.

”I felt a little jumpy and when that happens, I tend to leave

the ball up,” Collmenter said. ”That was not the greatest way to

start the game.”

The good news was his forearm felt fine.

”It was good to back on the mound and it was important to get

back there, and get back into a routine,” he said. ”Now I’m ready

to go every fifth day, and get back in groove.”