Cook's 5-hitter gives Rockies split with Marlins

Published April 24, 2010

| Associated Press

DENVER (AP) — Aaron Cook overcame his early-season struggles to throw a five-hitter, Miguel Olivo hit his 100th career homer and the Colorado Rockies beat the Florida Marlins 8-1 Saturday night to gain a doubleheader split.

In the opener, Ricky Nolasco limited the Rockies to one run in eight innings and Dan Uggla and Brett Carroll each homered in Florida's 4-1 victory.

Showcasing the effective sinker that had eluded him in his three previous outings, Cook (1-2) struck out four and walked two in his 32nd career win at Coors Field — the most by any pitcher at the ballpark.

It was the 10th career complete game for Cook, who also singled twice and scored two runs.

Florida's Jorge Cantu, who singled in the opener to extend his hitting streak to 21 games, saw the string come to an end in the nightcap. He was hitless in four at-bats, though his sixth-inning groundout drove in the Marlins' run.

Quieted in the opener by Nolasco (2-0), who fanned a season-high nine and walked none in improving to 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA at Coors Field, Rockies batters tagged Nate Robertson (2-1) in the second game.

They scored two runs in the first. Dexter Fowler doubled, stole third and scored on catcher John Baker's throwing error. Jason Giambi was hit by a pitch and scored on Melvin Mora's triple.

Olivo connected off Robertson, who allowed five runs and five hits in four innings, in the third for his fourth homer of the season, a three-run shot that gave the Rockies a 5-0 lead.

Troy Tulowitzki added a two-run double in the sixth.

Colorado's offensive burst was in stark contrast to its ineffectiveness against Nolasco, who has thrived in the Rockies' hitter-friendly stadium.

"You have to be real careful in this ballpark," said Nolasco, who also credited his catcher, Ronny Paulino. "I was working well with Ronnie, keeping these guys off balance. You can't have them leaning over the plate because that's when they'll hurt you. So I pitched inside a little bit more."

Nolasco, who had a complete-game victory over Philadelphia in his previous start, probably could have finished again, but Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said he didn't want him to overdo it.

"He would have gone back out there if we let him, but I tried to get another run out of it and add on a little bit," Gonzalez said.

Leo Nunez got three outs for his fourth save in five chances.

Though he graded Nolasco's last two outings as a double A-plus, Gonzalez also noted his pitch count.

"He went 109 and then 105 (against the Rockies), and then maybe it's a little bit more difficult in this altitude," he said.

The Rockies, though, were the ones running into difficulty against Nolasco.

"We weren't able to do much at all," manager Jim Tracy said. "We had seven hits and created a couple of opportunities for ourselves, but we couldn't capitalize.

"Nolasco got better as he went on. Our left-hand hitters could do nothing with his slider."

Greg Smith (1-2) gave up four runs and eight hits in five innings, including solo shots by Uggla in the second and Carroll in the third.

With two outs in the third, Smith, who is in the Rockies' rotation in place of injured Jeff Francis, hit Gaby Sanchez with a pitch. Hanley Ramirez singled and Cantu lined a single to center, putting the Marlins up 3-0.

Colorado broke a 12-inning scoreless drought at Coors Field in the fourth on Ian Stewart's RBI single, but Florida added another run in the sixth when Uggla doubled and scored on Carroll's sacrifice fly.

NOTES: The opener was preceded by a moment of silence and video tribute for Rockies team president Keli McGregor, who died Tuesday at age 48 while on a business trip in Salt Lake City. A memorial service will be held Sunday at Coors Field ahead of the series finale. ... Colorado OF Brad Hawpe left the opener in the top of the fifth with tightness in his left quadriceps. ... Cantu's hitting streak was the longest by a Marlins player since Kevin Millar had a 25-game stretch in 2002. ... The Marlins' win in the opener marked the first time this season that they have won the first game of a series. ... Cook's win snapped a tie for the most at Coors Field with Jason Jennings.

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2010/04/24/nolasco-pitches-marlins-past-rockies-opener/