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Publish Date: 8/14/2004

Sweep deal for Rockies

DENVER — In the early-fall dusk Thursday, in front of hundreds of fans, Jeromy Burnitz’s blooper put a fitting end to an ugly day.

The RBI single was due more to luck than skill, Burnitz admits, but considering it came in the 10th inning of the second game of a traditional doubleheader between two of the worst teams in baseball, nobody in the echoing emptiness of Coors Field could complain.

The ball fell fair, Todd Helton sprinted home from second, and the Colorado Rockies swept the twin bill, 7-1 and 2-1, to complete a three-game sweep of the awful Arizona Diamondbacks.

“It was just one of those that fell in for us,” said Burnitz, who entered the second game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning. “Doubleheaders are tough sometimes, but if you win both, it makes for a pretty good day.”

Whether due to the chill, the damp or the simple desire to end the pain quickly, the Rockies played tidily in both games, especially from the mound. In 19 innings, Colorado pitchers gave up just two total runs, leaving the Diamondbacks with few answers.

Jeff Francis dominated the first game, pitching six innings with eight strikeouts and no walks for his third win. Jamey Wright was strong in the second, striking out seven through eight innings, but he settled for his seventh no-decision in as many starts at Coors Field.

“As long as we win, it’s all right. But it’s frustrating,” Wright said. “I’ve gone seven games here, and I’d like to have something to show for it.”

A former Colorado draft pick who rejoined the Rockies in late July, Wright has made a case for his future in the club’s rotation, posting a 2-2 record and a serviceable 4.67 ERA. Before coming back to the team, he sometimes felt he had drifted off the baseball globe.

“This opportunity helped me show that I’m still alive, because a lot of people forgot about me the past couple of years,” he said. “I’m not hurt, no surgery, no nothing — I just haven’t been anywhere where anyone can see me.

“I thought I did well. My breaking stuff is a lot better than what it was my first time here, and that makes all the difference in the world.”

The Rockies will have to up-shift starting today as they welcome Larry Walker and the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals for the final three home games of the season.






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