Series: Game 1 of 3

Arizona leads 1-0 (as of 7/21)

Game 1: Friday, July 21
Game 2: Saturday, July 22
Game 3: Sunday, July 23

Rockies 2

(45-50, 23-28 away)

Diamondbacks 6

(49-47, 25-25 home)

    9:40 PM ET, July 21, 2006

    Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona 

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    W: C. Vargas (8-6)

    L: A. Cook (6-8)

    Gonzo's back in lineup and at center of D-Backs' victory

    PHOENIX (AP) -- Luis Gonzalez let his bat do the talking Friday night.

    After grousing about an unwanted day off Thursday, Gonzalez returned to Arizona's lineup and had three hits to help the Diamondbacks to a 6-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

    "You go out there and you play with a little chip on your shoulder," Gonzalez said.

    Gonzalez is the most popular player in the Diamondbacks' nine-year history, but he said before the game that he feared fans would consider him selfish for objecting to being benched -- especially after his replacement, rookie Carlos Quentin, homered in his major league debut.

    But Gonzalez heard only cheers from the Chase Field crowd of 23,068. He received a lengthy standing ovation when he hit his 526th career double in the third inning, tying Dave Parker for 30th on the all-time list.

    "Obviously, when I went out there, I was very leery to hear the fan reaction," said Gonzalez, who had two singles. "Once they were clapping and cheering for me, I was kind of relieved a little bit. You know, I'm not a bad person. I didn't want to come off like that yesterday."

    Orlando Hudson had three hits for the Diamondbacks, who won for the ninth time in 11 games to climb within a game of first-place San Diego in the NL West.

    Arizona starter Claudio Vargas (8-6) allowed two runs over six innings to post his second victory in six weeks. Vargas gave up six hits, walked two and struck out four.

    "I got my confidence back a little bit," Vargas said.

    In his shortest outing of the season, Aaron Cook (6-8) allowed five runs and 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings for the Rockies, who have lost 10 of 11. He walked three and struck out one.

    Cook has one victory in his last 11 starts. Cook's struggles continued against the Diamondbacks, whom he defeated here April 11. He gave up leadoff hits in each of the first five innings and needed 98 pitches to record 12 outs.

    "I just wasn't pitching well tonight," Cook said. "I was getting balls up in the zone. I think they were sitting on my sinker. I didn't make adjustments quite early enough to be able to get them out."

    Cook's worst inning was the third, when the Diamondbacks battered him for four runs, three coming with two out. Arizona's big inning started with a single by Chad Tracy, who scored on Gonzalez's double.

    Two outs later, Johnny Estrada doubled home Gonzalez, and Estrada scored on Hudson's single. Hudson scored on Stephen Drew's triple to give Arizona a 5-0 lead.

    "It's kind of been a constant theme," Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. "We've seen it for three weeks pretty much. We've got to find a way to put those innings away."

    The Rockies made it 5-1 in the fourth when Garrett Atkins doubled and scored on Yorvit Torrealba's RBI grounder one out later. Colorado pulled to within 5-2 on Atkins' 420-foot solo homer in the sixth, his 12th.

    The only good news for Colorado is that the last-place Rockies remain only 4½ games out of first in the tightly packed NL West.

    While the Rockies are slumping, the Diamondbacks are streaking. They weren't the least bit distracted by the tempest caused by Gonzalez's widely publicized remarks.

    Before Friday's game, Gonzalez told reporters that he had cleared the air in a meeting with general manager Josh Byrnes on Thursday. Gonzalez expressed the hope that he could put the episode behind him.

    Manager Bob Melvin had told Gonzalez he was only going to be out of the lineup for one night. But Melvin understood why Gonzalez didn't want to sit.

    "Gonzo, his whole career he wants to prove something," Melvin said. "He wants to play 162 if he can, and he's there for his teammates. He's an accountable guy."

    Game notes

    Arizona RF Shawn Green's run-scoring single in the first inning was his 1,000th career RBI. ... Cook has not allowed a home run in 64 2/3 innings on the road, most in the majors. He's allowed nine homers in 68 innings in hitter-friendly Coors Field. ... Colorado fell to 24-46 all-time at Chase Field. ... Colorado 1B Todd Helton was ejected by home plate umpire James Hoye for arguing a strike call in the seventh.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press