Reds aim to snag series from hot Rockies

The Colorado Rockies broke out of a very brief hitting slump in a big way Saturday, matching a major league season high for extra-base hits in the process.

It’s been nearly a month since the Rockies lost a series, a streak they’d like to keep intact Sunday with another big offensive performance in their finale against the Cincinnati Reds.

The majors’ best offensive team was shut out Thursday at Texas and was held to three runs Friday in its opener in Cincinnati before getting back on track Saturday. Colorado had 16 hits, including six doubles and five home runs, in an 11-2 victory as they reached double-digit runs for the eight time this season.

The 11 extra-base hits tied Washington and the Los Angeles Angles for the most in a game this season, and were the most for the Rockies since they had 12 on July 30, 2010.

Outfielder Corey Dickerson led the way with two doubles and two homers – including one in the first immediately after Charlie Blackmon’s shot to lead off the game.

The only other time the Rockies (23-16) have seen their first two hitters go deep in the first inning was on May 4, 1996, when Eric Young and Ellis Burks did it in a 17-5 win against the Marlins.

"Dickerson’s got a pretty good track record of swinging the bat," manager Walt Weiss said. "He can hit. It’s nice to be able to get an opportunity to get him into the lineup. He’s worked pretty hard."

Weiss will hand the ball to Juan Nicasio as the Rockies try to improve to 7-0-2 in their last nine series. Nicasio (4-1, 3.89 ERA) has allowed only five hits in 12 innings while winning his last two starts, but he issued five walks and hit a batter in Tuesday’s 12-1 victory over Texas.

"I thought he labored a little bit," Weiss said.

Nicasio allowed 17 baserunners over 10 1-3 innings in two starts against Cincinnati (16-19) last season while yielding nine earned runs and going 0-1.

The right-hander started twice against Cincinnati last season, going 0-1 as he allowed nine earned runs in 10 1-3 innings. Brandon Phillips did a fair amount of that damage, going 3 for 3 with a double, triple and a homer.

The Reds counter with Homer Bailey (2-2, 5.36), and they’d like to see a lengthy outing from him after Alfredo Simon lasted just three innings Saturday – the shortest outing from a Cincinnati starter in 2014.

Bailey allowed five hits over six innings and walked five for the first time since 2012 on Tuesday at Boston, but he limited the Red Sox to three runs in a 4-3, 12-inning loss.

"I had several walks, which is kind of uncharacteristic of me," Bailey told the team’s official website. "I just didn’t have the right feel. It was just one of those games that I had to grind out."

Bailey is 1-2 with a 5.13 ERA in six career starts versus Colorado.