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Fogg restores Rockies' faith again

Fogg restores Rockies' faith again

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DENVER -- Josh Fogg isn't going to win any pitcher of the year contests, but he might be up for Mr. Congeniality.

The Rockies love playing behind their always-grinning pitcher, who held the Diamondbacks to one run in six innings Sunday to propel the Rockies to a 4-1 victory and 3-0 lead in the NLCS.

"It might be rekindling, like an old girlfriend," manager Clint Hurdle said of the Rockies players' love affair with Fogg. "They know this -- that when he goes out there, there's not going to be any lack of preparation. There's not going to be lack of effort. He's going to leave it all out on the mound, give it all that he's got."

All that Fogg has had lately has been pretty good. Minus his start against the Padres in the one-game Wild Card tiebreaker when Fogg gave up five runs in four innings, Fogg has a 2.78 ERA in his last seven appearances, including six starts.

The Rockies are 6-1 in those games and also won the tiebreaker against San Diego.

"I don't know if there's anybody that we'd rather play behind," right fielder Brad Hawpe said. "He's just got as much guts as any pitcher there is out there. He's got that good temperament. He keeps himself under control, challenges guys and he battles."

Fogg's even-keel temperament came in handy early Sunday night. Chris Young and Stephen Drew led off the game with singles, but then Eric Byrnes lined out to Fogg, who threw Young out at second. The D-backs didn't get more than one baserunner on at the same time against Fogg the rest of the game.

The Diamondbacks haven't done much against the Rockies' starters in this series, scoring one run apiece against Jeff Francis, Ubaldo Jimenez and Fogg, who have combined for a 1.53 ERA.

"I can't compete with those guys," Fogg said. "Francis is unbelievable for us, and Ubaldo -- some of the best stuff in the Major Leagues. I'm going out there, throwing 88-mph fastballs and cutters in and I'm trying to trick them."

It's usually trick or treat with Fogg, who has a history of having one bad inning. But the only treat he provided to the D-Backs was a middle-of-the-plate curveball to Mark Reynolds in the fourth inning that landed in the left-field seats. And he stayed away from the big inning by forcing double plays in each of the first three innings.

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The Rockies' defense, which was the best in Major League history this season, seems to thrive behind Fogg, and they enjoy doing so.

"I'll play behind Josh any day," Matt Holliday said. "He goes out there and battles, gives you all he's got. He's just a great guy to play behind. He works quick, throws strikes and he gives you everything he has."

Added Todd Helton: "It's a pleasure to play behind Josh Fogg. Guys will do anything for him just because of the person he is, the way he competes. He goes right after guys, grabs the ball and throws it."

C.J. Moore is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"content":["league_championship_series" ] }
{"content":["league_championship_series" ] }
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