Vidal Nuno has seemed to come around and feel comfortable in the Arizona Diamondbacks' starting rotation. That rang true, more than ever, Saturday as he faced the Colorado Rockies.
Unfortunately, Arizona's offense was incapable of giving the former New York Yankee some breathing room, as the Diamondbacks fell 2-0 to their division rival.
It was a pitchers' duel as Colorado's Tyler Matzek had a great start as well, going seven innings and allowing three walks and just three hits while striking out four.
Nuno had his longest start of the whole year -- eight innings -- but he took the loss as first baseman Matt McBride's second-inning solo blast was the only run scored for much of the game. Right fielder Chris Blackmon later gave the Rockies (54-81) some cushion with a solo homer off Matt Stites into the Chase Field pool in the ninth inning.
Matzek moved to 4-9 in his rookie season, while Nuno fell to 0-4 since joining the Diamondbacks. Both pitchers threw 103 pitches, but Nuno tossed more strikes (76 to 64).
The two teams are at the bottom of the NL West, but Arizona (56-79) held on to a two-game lead with the loss.
Here's a look at Saturday's shutout by the numbers:
The Rockies scored the game's only two runs, and both came via solo homers by McBride and Blackmon. Nolan Arenado recorded the team's only other hit on the night.
Even though Matzek went seven scoreless innings, Colorado needed four relievers to finish out the final two frames. The Rockies used three in the eighth inning, as two D-backs batters got on base but were unable to score. LaTroy Hawkins came in in the ninth and struck out two while recording his 22nd save of the year.
5 (part I)
Despite being shut out, the Diamondbacks actually had more hits (5-3) than Colorado did on Saturday. Nolan Reimold recorded two hits for the D-backs, while Ender Inciarte, Pennington and David Peralta were the only other Arizona players to hit safely. Arizona left five runners in scoring position Saturday.
5 (part II)
Blackmon's homer was the fifth Stites has allowed in this his rookie season. The 24-year-old did not strike out any batters while working the ninth inning, and his ERA nudged up to 4.91 after completing the frame.
The Diamondbacks were last shut out seven games ago on getaway day in Washington, which was a 1-0 Nationals victory. Arizona has now been blanked three times since the All-Star break.
Over their last 13 games, the Diamondbacks are just 3-10. The slide started Aug. 14 in Miami, when a 2-1 loss kicked off a six-game D-backs losing streak.
Catcher Miguel Montero has been struggling lately. He went 0-for-4 Saturday and is hitless in his last three games. He has gone without a hit in his last 14 at-bats, and his batting average is now .254.
Nuno struck out the last 20 batters he faced before being pulled after eight innings. Saturday was the third start in a row he went seven innings or more, and his ERA dropped to 3.23 with Arizona. The 27-year-old left-hander struck out seven and didn't walk a single batter while allowing only two hits and one earned run in the loss.
More than 27,000 fans converged on Chase Field to see Saturday's Rockies-Diamondbacks contest and the third annual Alumni Exhibition Game that followed. Several former D-backs such as Steve Finley, Luis Gonzalez, Brandon Webb, Mike Fetters, Erubiel Durazo and David Dellucci participated.