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Rockies carry momentum into meeting with Padres

Nolan Arenado was able to keep the Colorado Rockies in the running for the NL West lead and aims for an encore performance Saturday in the third test of a four-game series with the San Diego Padres at Coors Field.

After the Rockies blew a 9-3 advantage in Friday's contest versus the Padres, Arenado delivered with a game-winning home run in the bottom of the ninth to give Colorado a 10-9 victory.

Padres reliever Joe Thatcher was pegged with the loss after giving up the game-winner to Arenado.

"It was a fastball," Thatcher said. "Tried to get it to the outer half. It backed up. He (Arenado) didn't miss it."

Todd Helton added three hits and three RBI for the Rockies, winners in five of their last seven games. Carlos Gonzalez had two triples and three RBI before exiting the game before the seventh inning after suffering an apparent ankle injury while batting in the sixth.

"I twisted my ankle on the swing, and then I tried to avoid the ankle, and my body and the whole weight (came down) on the knee," Gonzalez told the club's website. "It's all right, just sore. Depends on how I feel tomorrow, I don't want to miss any games. Right now it feels good, but in the moment, I was in pain. It's going away, and hopefully I feel better and play tomorrow."

Gonzalez, who homered three times Wednesday at Cincinnati, has nine RBI in his previous three games.

Colorado rebounded from Thursday's 6-5 loss in 12 innings and is 1-1 on a 10- game homestand. It is also just 2 1/2 games behind NL West-leading Arizona with San Francisco 3 1/2 games off the pace.

Jeff Francis is expected to be activated off the disabled list in time to start Saturday and has been bothered by a groin issue. Francis hasn't pitched since May 14 at the Chicago Cubs and earned the win with six innings of one- run ball and seven strikeouts in a 9-4 victory. The lefty ended a six-game winless streak (0-3) and is 2-3 in eight starts with a 6.00 ERA.

Francis opened the season with a win over San Diego on April 5 and allowed only one run in six innings of a 5-2 triumph. In 26 career starts against the Padres, Francis is 7-13 with a 5.53 ERA.

Colorado will also entertain Washington and Philadelphia on the homestand.

The Padres had a modest two-game winning streak come to an end and lost for the fourth time in six tries on Friday.

San Diego put forth a valiant effort to even the score at 9-9, but Thatcher's mistake to Arenado cost the club. Carlos Quentin, Jedd Gyorko and Kyle Blanks all homered with Quentin and Blanks each finishing with three hits, three RBI and two runs scored. Quentin and Gyorko hit back-to-back homers during a five- run seventh inning.

"We swung the bat really well that inning," Gyorko said. "It's good to see us bunch those hits together.

"That's a tough one, to fight back and lose at the end."

Padres starter Edinson Volquez put his team behind the eight ball and lasted only 2 1/3 innings, allowing nine runs and 11 hits in the no-decision.

Left-hander Eric Stults draws the start for San Diego Saturday and he is 0-2 in his last three appearances. He pitched well in a 2-1 loss at Los Angeles on Monday and gave up both runs in seven innings to drop to 4-5 in 12 starts to go along with a 3.74 earned run average.

Stults, who is 1-3 in his last four decisions, has faced Colorado eight times (4 starts) in his career and owns a 1-0 mark with a 4.81 ERA. He is 2-4 in seven road assignments this season.

The Rockies won the first six meetings with the Padres, taking three games in Colorado from April 5-7 and three more in San Diego from April 12-14.