Before defeating the D-backs on Friday, the Rockies' surprisingly hot start to 2013 was tempered a bit by the fact that they hadn't beaten any team with a winning record, instead taking advantage of a weak schedule by sweeping nine games from the Padres and Mets.
Now, following a dominant pitching effort in a 3-1 victory over the D-backs, Colorado will look to run its winning streak to eight games and secure yet another series victory Saturday when the Rockies and D-backs continue their weekend series.
On the mound for the National League West-leading Rockies will be Jorge De La Rosa, who has been a pleasant addition to the club's rotation following Tommy John surgery that forced him to miss most of two seasons.
In three starts in 2013, De La Rosa has allowed seven earned runs over 16 1/3 innings. He held the Padres scoreless over six frames his last time out.
"We were just hoping to see steps forward with every outing. I know that's in a perfect world. It doesn't always work that way," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "In Jorge's case, it has been pretty much that way. That's huge for us and for Jorge. Missing that much time, to see us progress consistently is a good sign."
Opposing De La Rosa for the D-backs will be Travor Cahill, another pitcher who has improved with each start this year.
After giving up a combined seven runs in his first two starts, the right-hander tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings against the Dodgers last Sunday. Despite his impressive outing, Cahill took a no-decision, because Josh Beckett was also dealing.
"I knew one run might be the deciding factor," Cahill said after the game. "When a guy is throwing like that, you just try to match it. What's nice is you get in kind of a rhythm. There wasn't a huge wait between innings. Of course you want to score runs, but it's nice to get back out there right away sometimes, too."
Rockies: Outman called up, Volstad sent down
Prior to Friday night's series opener, the Rockies called up relief pitcher Josh Outman from Triple-A Colorado Springs and optioned right-hander Chris Volstad in his place.
Outman, 1-0 with an 0.84 ERA in 10 2/3 innings over five games at Triple-A, can pitch in short or extended stints, much the way Volstad was slated to do, but his presence frees Weiss to use lefty Rex Brothers (1-0, 1.23 ERA) earlier in the game against a key lefty hitter.
"Our bullpen isn't necessarily designed for matchups exclusively, but with an extra lefty, that option is in play, as opposed to trying to save Brothers for later in the game, that eighth or ninth," Weiss said.
Volstad, who had a 8.53 ERA in four games, gave up one run in two innings at the end of Thursday's 11-3 victory over the Mets at Coors Field.
"Chris didn't perform poorly," Weiss said. "He's in a situation where he wasn't getting a lot of consistent work. Hopefully he'll go down there and get that consistent work. I imagine he'll be with again us at some point this year."
D-backs: Club continuing to battle through injuries
Arizona has seen its bench and organizational depth tested in the first few weeks of the season, with a pair of .300 hitters landing on the disabled list and two other starters opening the season on the DL.
Shortstop Willie Bloomquist and outfielder Adam Eaton started the season on the DL, and outfielder Jason Kubel and second baseman Aaron Hill hit the DL recently with a strained left quad and broken left hand, respectively.
Despite the setbacks, the D-backs have managed to stay afloat, jumping out to an early 9-7 record.
"It's how we prepare," manager Kirk Gibson said. "It starts in Spring Training. You try and get some of your depth guys acclimated in case they're called on. Unfortunately, we've had to call on quite a few of them this early in this young season."
• After homering in his first D-backs at-bat against the Yankees on Thursday, Didi Gregorius collected two more hits Friday.
• The Rockies' seven-game winning streak is their longest since April 2011.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.