Rockies’ Cook feels at home in breakout performance over Dodgers
NICK WALTER THE GAZETTE
DENVER – Since being called up from the Colorado Springs Sky Sox on May 17, Aaron Cook has proved to be one of the Rockies’ best pitchers on the road.
The problem was bringing that success back to Coors Field. For now, the problem is solved.
In Colorado’s 7-2 win over Los Angeles on Tuesday, Cook tossed 73 innings, allowing eight hits and two earned runs. He also notched his first home win this season.
“I’m just trying to keep things as simple as possible,” said Cook, who is 4-0 on the road with a 3.07 ERA. “I just have to be aggressive and keep the ball down.”
Cook, who improved to 5-4 with a 4.52 ERA, estimated that he threw 75-80 sinkers, which induced Los Angeles into 12 ground ball outs. Two of those resulted in inning-ending double plays.
“I wasn’t on the roster in spring training, but it just wasn’t my call,” Cook said. “That just allowed me to focus on going out and getting guys and pitching deeper into games.”
Cook began to tire in the seventh inning when Los Angeles’ Paul Lo Duca drilled a first-pitch two-run home run to right that ended the shutout bid.
Cook left the game after his 103rd pitch was knocked into left field for a single by Milton Bradley.
Scott Dohmann entered the game for Cook and struck out the first three batters he faced. He gave up one hit and no runs in 1q innings to extend his scoreless streak to 153 innings.
Colorado’s offense forced Los Angeles starter Odalis Perez out of the game in 43 innings, Perez’s shortest start of the season. He allowed a season-high six runs and surrendered home runs to Todd Helton (21), Todd Greene (eight) and Jeromy Burnitz (25), who homered for the fifth straight game at Coors Field.
“I feel relaxed, confident and comfortable,” said Burnitz, who was 3-for-4 with four RBIs. “That’s about it.”
Helton followed up his 442-foot blast in the first inning with a triple to the right field corner in the third, although none of the ensuing four batters could get Helton home.
“I don’t think he’s as happy as the rest of us,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “But we’ll take it.”
Colorado sustained two injuries in the game.
Second baseman Luis Gonzalez suffered a contusion of the right knee in the third inning when he dove at a ball up the middle and collided with shortstop Royce Clayton. Greene strained his left hamstring in the fifth when he tried to avoid a pitch. Both players are listed as day-to-day.
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