DENVER (AP) - The surging Arizona Diamondbacks have suddenly figured it all out.
And just like that, the surprising Diamondbacks are closing in on the San Francisco Giants in the NL West.
Micah Owings pitched five effective innings for his first win in more than a year and Miguel Montero hit a three-run homer, helping the Diamondbacks beat the slumping Colorado Rockies 6-3 on Thursday night.
Arizona has won nine of its last 10 to creep to within 1 1/2 games of the Giants, the closest the team has been since early April, the closest the team has been in quite a while for that matter.
Last season, Arizona finished a distant 27 games behind the world champion Giants. But under manager Kirk Gibson, they're putting all the pieces together - finally.
``Early in the year we were hitting, but we weren't pitching. Then we were pitching, but we weren't hitting and we were fumbling around and making mistakes on the bases,' Gibson said. ``We are putting things together.'
Owings (1-0) bottled up the Rockies' struggling offense, allowing just four hits and striking out three. The only run he surrendered was an RBI single by Troy Tulowitzki in the fourth.
The right-hander earned his first win since last May, when he was a member of the Cincinnati Reds. This was Owings' second start of the season for the Diamondbacks in his second stint back with the squad.
He, like the rest of the squad, has bought into Gibson's team-first concept, refusing to relish in a personal victory.
``More important to get a team win,' Owings said.
Montero staked Owings to an early lead, lining a belt-high pitch over the right-field fence in the fourth after Clayton Mortensen (1-2) walked the first two batters of the inning.
That's what a little extra work in the batting cage will do.
``I had a good feeling and a different feel on my last time in the cage. So I wanted to take another round just to get that feeling (again),' Montero explained.
The fine-tuned swing spilled over into the game as he connected on his first homer since April 28.
Kelly Johnson added a two-run homer off Rockies closer Huston Street in the ninth to give Arizona a three-run lead.
Colorado rallied for two runs against Arizona reliever Esmerling Vasquez in the seventh as pinch hitter Jason Giambi had an RBI sacrifice fly and Ryan Spilborghs followed with a run-scoring single. But with two on, Jonathan Herrera grounded out to end the threat.
But that's as close as Colorado would get. David Hernandez pitched the final five outs for his first save of the year, giving regular closer J.J. Putz the night off.
``When your offense doesn't have the traction that we know it's capable of having, little mistakes magnify themselves,' Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.
After the game, slumping infielder Jose Lopez said he was designated for assignment. He shook hands with his teammates before heading out. Lopez was hitting a sparse .208 this season.
``Part of this game,' Lopez said as he left. ``Hopefully another team will pick me up.'
With Jorge De La Rosa sidelined after suffering a season-ending elbow injury Tuesday, Mortensen has suddenly gone from a fill-in starter to all but sewing up a spot in the rotation, especially given his recent string of solid outings.
After being so effective in his opening three starts, though, Mortensen hit a bump against Arizona, giving up four runs and five hits in six innings.
The right-handed rookie hardly has overpowering stuff with his fastball hovering around 87 mph, but possesses pinpoint control - at least typically.
Mortensen wiggled out of an early jam, but couldn't get out of the mess he created for himself in the fourth by walking Stephen Drew and Chris Young to start the inning, then falling behind on Montero, who promptly hit his fifth homer of the year.
``The walks are what killed me tonight,' Mortensen said. ``You can't lead off an inning with two walks. There were 10 consecutive balls. It doesn't work.'
Tulowitzki was back in his customary cleanup spot Thursday after receiving his first day off of the season. The smooth-fielding shortstop has been trying the shoulder the load for an offense that's turned stagnant.
And that's led him into a funk, hitting under .200 in May. Tulowitzki finished 1 for 4 on Thursday.
The Rockies have lost seven of nine to drop below .500 for the first time since opening day.
Before the game, the Rockies learned that a 27-year-old fan died due to injuries he sustained when he fell about 20 feet and struck his head on concrete during the seventh inning of Tuesday's game at Coors Field.
``It's a sad thing,' Giambi said before heading out to batting practice Thursday. ``It's supposed to be uplifting and an enjoyment for the fans. That's a terrible thing to hear.'
Notes: The Rockies traded RHP Felipe Paulino to Kansas City on Thursday night for cash considerations. Paulino was designated for assignment by the Rockies last Saturday. ... Speedy OF Dexter Fowler was moved from the leadoff spot to No. 8. ... Rockies OF Seth Smith left the game in the seventh with a cramp in his groin. ``We'll check and see how he's doing tomorrow,' Tracy said. ``But he did not pull it.'
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