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COL@SD: Nicasio allows two earned over six

Phillies right-hander Roberto Hernandez has been exactly what the Phillies wanted when they signed him in December to be their No. 5 starter.

Maybe more.

They hope his early-season success continues Sunday in the series finale against the Rockies at Coors Field.

He is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in three starts. He has allowed 14 hits, seven earned runs and eight walks and has struck out 17 in 16 1/3 innings, providing some stability to the rotation while Cole Hamels recovered from inflammation in his left shoulder.

Hamels is set to rejoin the Phillies rotation Wednesday in Los Angeles.

"Hernandez has given us a chance to win every time he's pitched," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said Saturday.

Hernandez faces Rockies right-hander Juan Nicasio, who is 2-0 with a 3.50 ERA, and 15 strikeouts against four walks in 18 innings. In the wins, he has given up three earned runs in 13 innings. He also pitched well enough in his no-decision to keep the Rockies close enough to come from behind and beat the White Sox, 10-4, on April 9 at Coors Field.

A faster tempo is one of the differences between Nicasio now and the last three years.

"Last year with Juan, we talked a little bit about thinking too much in between pitches," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "When he walks around the mound, takes that stroll, I don't think that's good for him. He needs to be in attack mode. That's when he's most effective, when he gets the ball and goes."

Phillies: Adams finally back, feeling good
Mike Adams pitched Friday for the first time since having right shoulder surgery July 31.

He threw a perfect inning with two groundball outs on a night when the Rockies beat up the rest of the Phillies pitching staff for 12 runs. The Phillies plan to ease in Adams slowly until he shows he is capable of returning to a late-inning role.

"Whatever they feel is the direction they want to go," Adams said. "They tried to explain to me, they wanted to feel me in there a little bit. I told them I completely understand. It's been a long time since I've been in a Major League game. I wouldn't expect them to just throw me out there in a tie ballgame and hope for the best. If everything keeps going the way it did yesterday, I should be all right."

Rockies: Offense leading the charge
Colorado enters today's game with the most runs in the Majors with 97. They're the only team with five players having scored 10 or more runs, with Troy Tulowitzki (13), Carlos Gonzalez (13), Charlie Blackmon (11), Michael Cuddyer (11) and DJ LeMahieu (10) pacing the club.

Outfielders Blackmon and reigning NL batting champ Cuddyer deserve much of the credit for sparking the team from the one-two spots in the lineup, but regardless of who's been at the top of the order, the Rockies have surged to the top of the offensive charts, with their one and two batters hitting a best-in-baseball .348 (55-for-158) with 19 RBIs and 29 runs scored entering play today.

Worth Noting
• Troy Tulowitzki has five career games in which he has at least five RBIs as a shortstop. No other active shortstop has more, although suspended Yankees infielder Alex Rodriguez has 14 in his career.

• Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins and second baseman Chase Utley have started 1,083 games together as a double-play combination, most among active combos in the big leagues. Utley and first baseman Ryan Howard have started 957 starts together, the most for any active tandem on the right side of the infield.

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