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Sunday, April 29, 2012
Gee felt strong late in outing

By Adam Rubin

Dillon Gee, who turned 26 years old Saturday, said he continued to feel strong late in Saturday's start against the Colorado Rockies, despite tossing a career-high 116 pitches. Terry Collins said Gee looked so sharp in a 1-2-3 seventh inning that he almost could have sent the right-hander out for another inning. But that was not the prudent thing to do given the batters due up -- Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki and Todd Helton. So the manager summoned Tim Byrdak, who tossed a 1-2-3 frame in the eventual 7-5 victory.

Byrdak thanked Gee for even completing the seventh considering the bullpen worked so hard in Friday's 18-9 debacle.

"We needed some innings," Collins said.

Still, Gee said that entering the outing he was not conscious of the need to go deep in order to refresh the relief arms. Gee also was pleased with the success of his curveball. He was surprised about the quality given how much he heard about it being difficult to snap off breaking balls in high-altitude, dry Denver.

"It's definitely a positive sign to be at 110 pitches and still feel pretty good," Gee said.

Meanwhile, Lucas Duda -- who matched a career high with four RBIs -- now has a team-high 13 RBIs this season.

Collins said hitting coach Dave Hudgens and Duda watched films to contrast last season with this year. As a result of that session, the manager suggested, Duda is now less pull-happy and is keeping his head in the strike zone zone longer. Duda homered for the first time in two weeks.

Duda downplayed his renewed success, assigning it to luck, which perhaps has bred a little more confidence.

"Balls are falling and luck's kind of going my way right now," Duda said.