LOS ANGELES (AP)—Shawn Estes went from outcast to ace in a hurry.
Estes (2-0), a non-roster invitee to spring training who has both Colorado victories, allowed one run and three hits before Brian Fuentes relieved to start the eighth.
Fuentes pitched one scoreless inning and Shawn Chacon got his first career save despite allowing a run on a wild pitch, helping the Rockies end a nine-game losing streak to the Dodgers.
Estes, who walked three and struck out one, retired his final seven batters. The 31-year-old left-hander gave up one run and two hits over seven innings in Colorado’s 6-2 victory over Arizona on opening day.
“His confidence is building—you can see it in his face,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.
“He pitched great—he’s shown he’s a big-game pitcher,” Castilla said. “We’re glad to have him.”
Estes had his best year in 1997 with San Francisco, going 19-5 with a 3.18 ERA. He was 15-6 with a 4.26 ERA in 2000 and 9-8 with a 4.02 ERA the following year before leaving the Giants.
He had a very difficult time the past two seasons, going 13-25 while pitching for the Mets, Reds and Cubs. The Rockies signed him to a minor league contract in January.
“I want to take advantage of the opportunity the Rockies gave me,” Estes said. “I still have a desire to pitch, I still love the game. If you don’t have that, there’s no reason to hang around. I’ve never wanted to be mediocre— I’ve been mediocre the last two years. It’s been very frustrating for me.”
The Dodgers had won four straight since losing their season opener.
“It was one of those days today where Shawn had our number,” said Paul Lo Duca, who had one of the Dodgers’ six hits and is 12-of-23 this season.
“He threw well, he’s a tough pitcher,” Los Angeles cleanup hitter Shawn Green said of Estes. “When he’s on, he’s as tough as any left-hander in the league.”
Colorado trailed 1-0 before Castilla hit a two-run homer and Burnitz added a solo shot in the sixth—both on full-count pitches from Odalis Perez (0-1).
Royce Clayton opened the inning with a single, stole second and took third on Todd Helton’s fly ball before Castilla hit an off-speed pitch into the left field seats for his first homer of the season.
Perez threw up his hands in disgust an instant after Castilla made contact. The Dodgers’ left-hander didn’t bother to watch where the ball came down.
Castilla’s homer was his 269th as a third baseman, moving him into 14th place on the career list at that position—one ahead of Brooks Robinson.
Burnitz homered down the right-field line one out later on another off-speed pitch for his second homer in two games.
“Except for the two pitches, everything was OK,” Perez said.
Colorado added a run in the ninth off Duaner Sanchez on an RBI single by Luis Gonzalez. Adrian Beltre doubled to begin the bottom of the ninth and came around on two wild pitches. Chacon struck out pinch-hitter Robin Ventura with a runner on second to end the game.
The Dodgers broke a scoreless tie in the fourth on Beltre’s two-out, RBI single—the first Los Angeles hit. Estes retired the first 11 batters before issuing a four-pitch walk to Milton Bradley. Green was hit by a pitch before Beltre lined a full-count pitch to center.
Perez allowed three runs and six hits in six innings while walking one andstriking out eight.
Rockies CF Preston Wilson, bothered by a sore left knee, sat out. Hurdle expects Wilson to play right field Monday in Colorado’s home opener against Arizona. “Center field’s awfully big at our park,” Hurdle said in explaining the move from center to right. Wilson was removed from Saturday night’s game in the third. … After using the same lineup in the season’s first five games, Dodgers manager Jim Tracy gave Hernandez and catcher David Ross their first starts. Paul Lo Duca moved from catcher to the outfield to make room for Ross. … Lo Duca, who turns 32 Monday, has hit safely in each of the Dodgers’ six games. … The Rockies haven’t committed an error this season. The Dodgers have committed three… Colorado’s Charles Johnson struck out ineach of his four plate appearances.