DENVER — Sunny Kim looks like he’s found a home.
The right-hander threw a three-hit shutout Saturday night for the Colorado Rockies as they beat San Francisco, 6-0. It was the 13th complete game shutout in Rockies history, the first of Kim’s career and the sixth a Colorado pitcher has thrown at Coors Field. The three hits he allowed were the fewest a Rockies pitcher has allowed in a shutout at Coors Field.
The last Rockies pitcher to throw a complete game shutout was John Thomson on Sept. 30, 2001. At 2 hours, 12 minutes, it was the third-fastest game at Coors.
If the Rockies can re-sign Kim for 2006, he will arrive in Tucson next spring to fight for a spot in the rotation. And he would do so with an inside edge, having gone 6-2 for Colorado since the Rockies claimed him off waivers from Washington Aug. 5. He won his fifth decision in a row, and fourth straight as a starter.
A reporter from a Korean newspapers helped translate for Kim in the Rockies clubhouse following the game. Kim’s message was unequivocal.
“After I came here, I had a lot of chance,” Kim said through Sungick Min for Sports Chosun.
“This team, I’m more comfortable. I don’t know why. Everyone here feels like my friend.”
Said Rockies manager Clint Hurdle: “That’s as good of a pitching performance as you’re going to see at this ballpark for as long as it stays here.
“We claimed (Kim) off waivers for a reason. We put him in the rotation for a reason. We’ve given him an opportunity for growth and to pitch, and he’s moving upon it. So he’s obviously a guy we would like to move forward with.”
Kim pitched previously in the Red Sox and Nationals systems, but never received a regular shot to start. Hurdle said he’s always had a big arm but struggled with command. He struggled with nothing Saturday.
Kim said he had a good slider, fastball and changeup. He said he felt dizzy in the ninth and cramped some due to dehydration, but got lucky when San Francisco’s J.T. Snow flew out deep to left on the game’s final pitch, one he said was not good.
Rockies centerfielder Choo Freeman bailed Kim out of one of his only jams when, in the third inning, he threw out San Francisco’s Pedro Feliz trying to tag from second and take third. Freeman also had a career high three hits Saturday in his third start since being recalled from Triple-A Aug. 22.
“I haven’t been in a game in a lot of games so I try to take advantage of it as much as possible,” Freeman said.
Splinters: Hurdle said the Rockies are considering starting an all-rookie lineup for a game before the season ends. “The meaning to it would be to emphasize the job the player development people in our organization have done,” Hurdle said. Hurdle added no team has started an all-rookie lineup since the 1963 Houston Astros. ... Outfielder Cory Sullivan got the night off after fouling a pitch off his foot Friday. ... Todd Helton drew his 100th walk of the season to give him three straight seasons with at least 100. He also increased his hitting streak to 11 games. ... Colorado’s Byung-Hyun Kim (5-11, 4.92 ERA) starts today against San Francisco’s Matt Cain (2-1, 4.78) in the Rockies’ home finale. UPN 20 will broadcast the game instead of FSN. Transmission problems caused by Hurricane Rita prohibit FSN from airing the game.