Archive for Tuesday, April 3, 2001

Hampton cruises at Coors

Pitcher wins debut with Colorado, 8-0, over Cards

April 3, 2001


— Maybe Mike Hampton and Coors Field really can coexist.

Hampton, who surprised many by signing with Colorado four months ago, gave up five hits in 813 scoreless innings as the Rockies opened the season with an 8-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday.

When he left the game following two straight walks in the ninth, Hampton tipped his cap to acknowledge a standing ovation his third of the day.

"That was great," Hampton said. "It was a great gesture on their part. Hopefully it happens about 20, 25 more times."

Todd Walker and Larry Walker each hit a two-run homer for the Rockies, who again made life miserable for St. Louis starter Darryl Kile.

Kile, who is 11-15 with a 6.76 ERA at Coors Field, gave up six runs and 11 hits in five innings. The performance was an improvement from a year ago, when he surrendered 11 runs, eight earned, and eight hits in 123 innings in his lone appearance at the ballpark.

"He is bummed out," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. "His stuff was really live. He had the velocity. Just in this league, location is more important. He had good stuff. He just kept leaving it over the plate."

Unlike Kile, Hampton does not rely heavily on a curveball and proved for at least one game that he has the arsenal to pitch at altitude. Of his 25 outs, 13 came on ground balls. He also had five strikeouts and made a handful of athletic plays in the field

"Great, great performance," Rockies manager Buddy Bell said. "Obviously, we don't need that every time out. He had some help, but the energy he provides is something extra."

The Rockies, whose $121 million, eight-year deal with Hampton is the richest ever for a pitcher, are counting on more of the same throughout the season as they compete in the pitching-rich NL West. Their other top-line free-agent starter, Denny Neagle, is scheduled to pitch Wednesday.

"You saw what Mike Hampton can do for a team," said Mark McGwire, who went 0-for-3 for St. Louis. "He is a competitor and he gives you everything on every pitch. If I am not mistaken, we were in the running for him. We didn't get him."

After Hampton pitched out of trouble in the first, Todd Walker got Colorado off to a quick start when he hit a 3-1 pitch over the center field wall to give the Rockies a 2-0 lead.

Jeff Cirillo, who went 3-for-5, had a run-scoring double in the third and Todd Walker added a two-out RBI double in the fourth as Hampton efficiently continued his spell over St. Louis.

During last year's National League championship series, Hampton pitched 16 scoreless innings against the Cardinals to earn MVP honors and help the New York Mets advance to the World Series.

St. Louis had only one runner reach third base against Hampton and went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

"Regardless of who it is I face, I'm just basically trying to do the same thing keep the ball on the ground and stay away from the big innings," Hampton said.

Hampton hit Fernando Vina and allowed a single to Edgar Renteria to open the game.

Dodgers 1, Brewers 0

Los Angeles Gary Sheffield turned boos to cheers with a sixth-inning home that lifted Los Angeles. Sheffield, who criticized the Dodgers and teammates during spring training, hit a drive off Jamey Wright that went about 440 feet. Chan Ho Park, making his first opening-day start as a replacement for the injured Kevin Brown, struck out seven in seven innings and allowed five hits. Jeff Shaw pitched a perfect ninth for the save.

Braves 10, Reds 4

Cincinnati Rafael Furcal homered and drove in a career-high four runs. Furcal had a pair of sacrifice flies, an RBI single and a solo homer off loser Dennys Reyes that snapped a 4-all tie in the seventh. Andruw Jones also homered for the Braves and Quilvio Veras drove in three runs with a bases-loaded double. All of Cincinnati's runs came off homers Dmitri Young's solo shot and Sean Casey's three-run homer.

Giants 3, Padres 2

San Francisco Barry Bonds hit his 495th career homer and threw out Tony Gwynn at home plate. Winner Livan Hernandez allowed six hits in 713 innings, and broke hit an RBI single in the fourth that scored Bobby Estalella, who had doubled off loser Woody Williams. Gwynn went 2-for-4 in his first game since knee surgery last June 27, batting fifth in the order for the first time since 1983, his second season. With 3,110 career hits, he tied Dave Winfield for 16th.

Expos 5, Cubs 4, 10 inn.

Chicago Vladimir Guerrero hit a go-ahead single in the 10th and Jose Vidro had a two-run homer for Montreal Winner Graeme Lloyd got just one out, getting a grounder to escape a big jam in the ninth and send the game into extra innings. Ugueth Urbina pitched the 10th for his first save. Jeff Fyhrie was the loser, allowing Vidro's leadoff single in the 10th.

Phillies 6, Marlins 5

Miami Reliever Amaury Telemaco pitched four shutout innings for the win and scored the tiebreaking run on Doug Glanville's grounder off Vladimir Nunez. Scott Rolen had a sacrifice fly, walked twice and hit a two-out solo homer in the seventh off Braden Looper to give the Phillies a 5-4 lead. But Jose Mesa, who blew a save on the same mound as a member of the Indians when the Marlins won Game Seven of the 1997 World Series, balked in the tying run in the ninth.

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