PHOENIX -- Take the top off the Rockies' offense, which was dangerous at the start of this season, and sometimes you end up with nights like Friday.
With Troy Tulowitzki and Dexter Fowler on the disabled list, and Carlos Gonzalez out nursing a sore back, the Rockies were no match for D-backs 21-year-old pitcher Tyler Skaggs. The Rockies managed just three hits in eight innings against Skaggs, and fell to the National League West-leading D-backs, 5-0, at Chase Field in front of a sellout crowd of 45,505.
At times since Tulowitzki suffered a broken rib on June 13 and Fowler suffered a right ring finger injury -- one that lingered and possibly created the wrist issue that pushed him to the DL this week -- the offense has had some decent performances. It scored 17 runs in the last two games, which they split at home against the Dodgers.
But nights like Friday, with the lineup weakened further because Gonzalez suffered a back strain Thursday night, have cropped up frequently as well. There were plenty of them during their last road trip, when they finished 2-7 at Toronto, Washington and Boston. They can't afford many nights like Friday, which marked the beginning of a 10-game NL West trip to Arizona, San Diego and Los Angeles.
Friday's loss left the Rockies 3 1/2 games behind the D-backs.
"With your No. 1 hitter [Fowler], No. 3 hitter [Gonzalez] and No. 4 hitter [Tulowitzki] all out of the lineup, those are big parts," said Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer, the only hitter over .300 in a lineup that also included Corey Dickerson (.200), Jordan Pacheco (.250), Tyler Colvin (.159 and in a 3-for-40 skid) and Josh Rutledge (.221). "Our pitching kept us in the game, gave us a shot. But we didn't produce much."
The Rockies received a competitive start from Jorge De La Rosa, who continued to hold up well despite pitching through a left thumb bruise that has been around for his last four starts. De La Rosa gave up three runs on seven hits, and struck out five against no walks, in 5 1/3 innings.
De La Rosa left quickly after the game and didn't do any formal interviews, but said on his way out that the thumb wasn't a problem.
"It wasn't his sharpest night, but I thought he kept it close enough, gave us a chance, but he had to be flawless tonight the way we got shut down offensively," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.
Four D-backs hits off De La Rosa went for extra bases. A.J. Pollock tripled to open the bottom of the first and scored on a wild pitch. Pollock doubled off the top of the left-field fence with one out in the third and eventually scored on Paul Goldschmidt's single. Aaron Hill and Goldschmidt doubled consecutively in the sixth. The D-backs also scored twice in the seventh off reliever Adam Ottavino.
De La Rosa, however, had no help from the offense.
The D-backs needed the dominant start. They just arrived home from a 3-7 road trip that ended with a 15-inning, 5-4 victory over the Mets on Thursday. They lost a 13-inning game to the Mets on Monday. With Skaggs' performance, a 10-hit effort on offense and, on top of all of it, a moving ceremony honoring 19 firefighters from Prescott, Ariz., who lost their lives batting a recent wildfire -- the D-backs found the energy.
"They didn't even get a guy to second base, they didn't have a chance to score," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said, "It was a very dominant performance."
Skaggs, called up from Triple-A Reno for the start, demonstrated the quality that has made him one of the D-backs' top prospects since he was acquired in a trade with the Angels. He retired 13 straight after Dickerson -- the left-field replacement for Gonzalez -- singled in the first. Nolan Arenado drew a two-out walk in the fifth to end the streak.
"I faced him a few times, and that's the best I've seen him," said Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who had gone 6-for-16 over his previous four games, but was 0-for-4 with a strikeout Friday. "He always has a good curveball. That's his strikeout pitch. I've seen him pretty inconsistent with it sometimes, but he was locked in with it."
Cuddyer, who compared Skaggs to Barry Zito in the early Cy Young Award-winning days of his career, hustled for an infield single with one out in the seventh and Arenado singled in the eighth, but was erased on a double play. Skaggs struck out five and walked one.
"It was just fastball command, throwing it for strikes and getting ahead in the count," Skaggs said. "Strike one is the best pitch in baseball."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.