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COL@ARI: Morales limits D-backs to two earned runs

Two Venezuelans will take the mound in Friday's series opener between the Rockies and Marlins at Coors Field.

The Rockies will send reliever/starter Franklin Morales up for his third start in August. When he last appeared in a game on Sunday, he pitched two innings and allowed two runs on a homer and a sacrifice fly.

The southpaw has a 5.15 ERA and has allowed 15 homers in 17 starts this season. In his last two starts, where he ran up his pitch count so fast that he only lasted six innings in each, opponents scored six runs (five earned) on him.

He'll have to contend with Miami ace Henderson Alvarez, who missed half of the month with right shoulder inflammation but was back to his normal self in his return on Saturday against the D-backs. After struggling to find the zone in the first inning, the right-hander yielded just one run on five hits in seven frames. He settled down to the point where he'd only thrown 89 pitches when he exited the game.

"I'm just trying to do my best for me and for my team," Alvarez said. "I'll keep battling until the end, think positive and move forward."

The 24-year-old lowered his ERA to 2.43, which was fourth-best in the National League on Wednesday. One of the things that's allowed him to be so successful this year, he said, is his ability to keep his sinker down in the zone. It's resulted in just eight homers hit against him in 23 games.

"Yeah, Marlins Park is big, which is good for pitchers to keep the ball in the stadium," he explained. "But I've also kept my pitches down and that's helped me a lot."

Rockies: Bergman will be activated Sunday
Rockies right-handed starting pitcher Christian Bergman will return from a broken hand to start against Miami on Sunday. He was previously called up in early June, but a line drive hit and broke a bone in his hand during his third start.

At the time, he was 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA, which was bloated by one poor outing. In his other two starts, he went six innings each time and gave up two runs and three runs, respectively.

Bergman had five rehab starts, one at Double-A Tulsa and the last four at Triple-A Colorado Springs. In those last four, he posted a 4.69 ERA but eight of the 12 earned runs off him came during one difficult appearance.

"My last two starts were pretty good down at Colorado Springs [three runs, 13 hits in 13 innings], and I swung the bat in my last game with no problems at all, and I had no problems catching the ball," Bergman said. "My arm feels loose and efficient."

The Rockies sent lefty Yohan Flande to Colorado Springs on Friday, when they purchased first baseman-outfielder Matt McBride's contract. They'll need to clear spots on the active roster and the 40-man Major League roster when they activate Bergman for Sunday's game.

Marlins: Offense still looking for more
The last time the Marlins went on the road they were 3-3 in trips to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. They won the last series against the Reds and went on to win two more before splitting with the Rangers this week.

In that span of 12 games, Miami was 8-4, climbed to .500 and tightened up the NL Wild Card race. They are just four games out of it, whereas they were 6 1/2 games back on Aug. 7.

Although they leave Miami with a good chance to make a run for the playoffs, outfielder Christian Yelich was quick to note that their offense will need to pick it up. In that 12-game stretch, they only outscored their opponents by five runs (42-37).

"Obviously we've played well enough to put ourselves in a position to make the last six weeks of the season matter, which is all you can ask for right now," Yelich said. "We haven't accomplished anything and we know that. Every game that we play is important and we just gotta keep playing well and winning games and look up at the end of the season and see where we're standing."

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