Rockies 5, Tigers 4

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DETROIT (AP)—There wasn’t any champagne in the Colorado Rockies’ clubhouse Sunday afternoon.

But they sure still enjoyed their first road-series win of the season, secured with a 5-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers.

Colorado took two of three in Detroit to win their first series away from Coors Field since August 12-14 against the Florida Marlins.

“It’s great to finally have one,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. “It’s important to take that first step, and we did that today. That game could have slipped away from us at a couple of places, but it never did.”

The Tigers still have not won a series at home this season and have lost nine of their last 10 overall.

“This one is disappointing,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. “They are happy over there and we are still looking to break our streak. We competed right until the end—we had two runners on in the ninth—but we just couldn’t get that last big hit.”

Mark Sweeney had a tiebreaking, three-run double that capped a five-run fifth inning. It was Sweeney’s second big hit of the series. He had a three-run homer in Colorado’s 7-2 win Friday night.

“I basically had two good at-bats, but they were in important situations,” Sweeney said. “I think we are finally starting to jell on the road, and it is going to be nice to start playing as well there as we do at home.”

Jason Jennings (6-5) won his third straight start, allowing three runs on six hits and three walks in six innings.

“This was a big win for us,” Jennings said. “We’ve basically been playing well all season. We’ve been one hit or one pitch away from winning a lot of ball games, so this is a nice step.

“I didn’t have my best stuff and location today, but this isn’t always going to be easy.”

Three Colorado relievers finished, with Jose Jimenez pitching the ninth for his 16th save in 17 opportunities.

Gary Knotts (2-5) gave up five runs on nine hits and two walks in 4 2-3 innings. He is 0-2 in his last four starts.

The Tigers opened the scoring with a run in the first. With one out, Warren Morris lined a triple to deep center and, after Kevin Witt walked, Dmitri Young hit into a run-scoring forceout at second.

Detroit made it 2-0 in the fourth. Witt singled, took second on Young’s base hit, moved to third on a sacrifice and scored on Eric Munson’s sacrifice fly.

A walk and a hit batsmen helped the Tigers load the bases with two outs in the inning, but Jennings struck out Omar Infante to end the threat.

The Rockies took control with five runs in the fifth, all coming with two outs.

Brent Butler singled with one out, and moved to second on Juan Uribe’s grounder before Jay Payton hit a 404-foot homer to left field. The ball easily cleared the older, more distant fence in left.

Todd Helton followed with a single, his third hit of the game, and Larry Walker blooped a double down the right-field line before Knotts walked Greg Norton to load the bases.

Sweeney then lined a bases-clearing double to right-center to put the Rockies ahead 5-2 and end Knotts’ day.

“He got behind me 2-0 and I was looking for something I could drive,” Sweeney said. “I faced him when he was with Florida, so I kind of knew what he featured.”

Trammell said he considered pulling Knotts after the Norton walk, but rookie Matt Roney wasn’t completely warmed up.

“We didn’t even get Matt up until Walker was at the plate, so he wasn’t quite ready when Gary walked Norton,” Trammell said. “If he had been, I probably would have made the change, but he was still pitching pretty well.”

Young made it 5-3 with a leadoff homer in the sixth, and Morris’ RBI singleoff Steve Reed pulled the Tigers within one in the seventh.

Notes

Morris had three hits and is 7-for-10 the last two games. … Uribe started in center field for the Rockies—his first major league start at that position. … Sweeney’s three RBIs tied his career high. He also had three in the series opener on Friday after only doing it twice in 601 career games. … Detroit went 3-9 in the first two weeks of interleague play. … The Tigerswere caught stealing twice in the game, giving them a league-leading 30.

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