White Sox 9, Rockies 3
DENVER (AP)—For one inning, pitching at Coors Field was every bit as tough as Freddy Garcia always heard it was. For the next seven, it was no trouble at all.
Garcia overcame a rough start to retire 22 straight Colorado batters Monday night and lead the Chicago White Sox to a 9-3 rout of the Rockies.
“My game plan was keep the ball down and throw a lot of sinkers and changeups and that worked,” Garcia said. “I just threw strikes.”
The game plan didn’t work well in the first inning, though, when Garcia (6-3) gave up a single, then hit Todd Helton with a pitch to bring up Brad Hawpe with two outs. Hawpe sent a 3-1 pitch over the center-field fence to put the Rockies up 3-2.
Turned out, that was the last baserunner Garcia allowed.
He walked none and had a season-high 10 strikeouts in eight innings. Shingo Takatsu completed the two-hitter—only the eighth time two or fewer hits have been allowed at Coors Field since it opened in 1995.
“I’m not going to say it’s the best pitching I’ve seen in here, but he got the job done,” said Colorado’s Preston Wilson, who went 0-for-4. “He made pitches when he needed to, and he kept us off balance. We were swinging and missing a lot tonight.”
Paul Konerko hit his 15th homer as Chicago improved its major league-best record to 38-19 and snapped Colorado’s season-high, four-game winning streak. The Rockies fell to 19-37, worst in the National League.
The loss came on a day in which Colorado learned it lost Clint Barmes, the team’s best rookie, for at least 12 weeks after Barmes slipped and broke his collarbone while carrying groceries up his apartment steps.
That news came around the time Colorado manager Clint Hurdle went to the hospital to be with his 2-year-old daughter, Madison, who was readmitted a few weeks after spending time there with seizures.
“It was a tough day for us, but we are paid to go out there and do a job,” Todd Helton said. “We needed to do a better job tonight.”
Konerko hit a two-run homer in the first off Joe Kennedy (3-6), whose ERA ballooned to 7.07. His spot on the roster now appears in jeopardy after he was named the opening day starter.
The White Sox chased Kennedy in the sixth when Jermaine Dye hit a two-run double after bench coach Jamie Quirk, subbing for Hurdle, chose to intentionally walk Konerko.
“It’s one of those things where it’s not lack of concentration or mechanics, those are the easy excuses,” Kennedy said. “I just didn’t get the job done.”
Pierzynski, Dye and Uribe all finished with three hits for Chicago.
Garcia, meanwhile, was in command through all but the first inning. He threw 103 pitches, 67 of them strikes, and other than Hawpe’s homer, he didn’t let the thin air or the aura of Coors Field bother him.
It was just what the White Sox needed after a weekend in which their bullpen threw 11 innings in three games against Cleveland, and closer Dustin Hermanson pitched in all three games.
“When Freddy throws strikes he doesn’t get himself in trouble,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “When he keeps hitters off balance he is going to be effective.”
The only complaint about Garcia might have been a couple lame efforts after he made contact during one of the few times he’ll be at bat this season: Twice after hitting the ball he didn’t even run down the first-base line and another time, he barely jogged.
His teammates ribbed him, though they couldn’t have cared much given his performance on the mound.
The Rockies and White Sox had never met in the regular season before. … The White Sox recorded a season-high 15 hits and reached double figures for the sixth time in seven games. … Hawpe made an assist from right field, giving him eight this season, which leads the majors.