The Rockies were able to stave off the charging D-backs to stay atop the National League West standings Friday, and they'll look to create some distance when the two teams meet Saturday at Chase Field.
Colorado will send left-hander Jeff Francis, who has struggled after an encouraging start to the season, to the mound. After allowing only one earned run in six innings in his 2013 debut, Francis has allowed four or more runs in his last three outings.
He last toed the rubber in chilly Colorado against the Braves as a part of the day-night doubleheader on Tuesday. In that game, Francis gave up four runs on six hits -- three of them home runs -- in four innings.
"There's no excuse to say it's too cold to pitch or hit or whatever," Francis said after the outing. "It's the same for everybody."
Weather won't be a problem in Arizona, as Chase Field has a retractable roof.
"It's nice to be out here in warm weather, baseball weather. It's good for everybody," Francis said.
Even after a string of poor outings, manager Walt Weiss believes in his starter.
"I have confidence he'll come out and do the things he's done," Weiss said. "He's got a plan out there, and he knows how to execute it. It's just a matter of executing it.
"Jeff needs to be using his fastball to complement his changeup. He's a back-and-forth guy. Those two pitches have to work off one another. He's well aware of the adjustments he needs to make. He's got the ability to execute a gameplan."
Taking the mound for Arizona will be Wade Miley, who not only has pitched well, but has hit well, too. He became the first pitcher to hit a home run from the left side at AT&T Park in his last start.
"It feels good for anybody to hit a home run," Miley said. "I'm a pitcher, and I just cheated and I got lucky. I hit it on the sweet spot. It was like a blur. I swung and was like, 'Oh my God.' ... I didn't really know what to do. I wanted to make sure I jogged around the bases fast enough. I wanted to get around there and get back into the dugout."
On the mound, the lefty has posted four quality starts to open the season, and he held the Giants to two runs on seven hits, with no walks and seven strikeouts.
"Wade threw the ball well," manager Kirk Gibson said.
The D-backs would love to have another strong outing from Miley, as the bullpen ranks among the league leaders in innings pitched.
"We've tried to spread the innings around, they've thrown a lot, we've had a lot of extra-innings games," Gibson said. "So I've very seldom had a game in which every guy is available. I've had to stay away from guys sometimes, but I've certainly have confidence in every one of them."
Rockies: Colorado enjoying Francis' starts
• Since Francis returned to Colorado in June 2012, the lefty has pitched at least five innings in 17 of his starts. In those outings, Francis is 7-2 with a 3.22 ERA, and the team has a 13-4 record.
• Carlos Gonzalez went 1-for-5 Friday and is still looking for his 100th home run as a Rockie. He has 103 in his career, four of them with the A's.
• Colorado continues to hit at a torrid pace. The Rockies had 11 hits Friday, pushing their league-leading total to 224.
D-backs: Parra continues career-long hitting streak
• Gerardo Parra extended his career-long hitting streak to 11 games on Friday. During that stretch, he's gone 14-for-43 for a .326 average. The streak is the longest hitting streak in the NL, and second to Kyle Seager (Mariners) in the Major Leagues.
• Miley has pitched well against Colorado in his career. He is 4-0 with a 3.11 ERA in six career games against the Rockies.
• Friday's win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Rockies against Arizona. The season series is 3-2 for Colorado.
Evan Peaslee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.