Rockies end slide against A’s
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Jason Hamel isn’t going back to relieving any time soon.
The right-hander, obtained in an early season trade to help beef up Colorado’s bullpen, is undefeated over his last seven starts and getting stronger with each outing.
“It’s been nice to get the opportunity to prove that I can do it and I’m trying to cash in on it the best I can,” said Hamel after pitching a career-high 7 1-3 innings in the Rockies’ 4-2 win over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.
“We’re getting the timely hitting and it’s helping me win some ballgames,” he added. “I’ve got no complaints.”
Garrett Atkins had three hits and two RBIs and Todd Helton added a two-run single as part of a three-run fifth inning, helping Colorado snap a seven-game losing streak in Oakland.
Hammel (5-3) allowed only four hits, struck out five and walked two to finish 4-0 in June. The right-hander also extended his career-best win streak to five.
“Hammel pitched a tremendous game, maybe the best one he’s pitched all year, in my opinion,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “He made only the one mistake. Beyond that, he threw the ball where he wanted to, when he wanted to, in any situation.”
Huston Street, pitching against his former team for the first time since being acquired in November as part of a trade that sent slugger Matt Holliday to the A’s, worked a perfect ninth for his 17th save in 18 tries.
It was the first game between the teams since 2006.
Kurt Suzuki homered and Holiday doubled twice for Oakland, which lost its third straight.
“We’ve just got to go out there and start playing good baseball,” A’s third baseman Jack Hannahan said. “We started slow, but if we start to get some big hits and play good defense, we’ll see what happens.”
Colorado snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 23-11 over its last 34 games. The Rockies need two more victories in June to tie the franchise record of 20 wins in a single month.
Hammel is a big reason for Colorado’s surge. The lanky right-hander hasn’t lost since May 19 and has been a steadying force for the Rockies since replacing Franklin Morales in the starting rotation after Morales went on the disabled list in April. Colorado has won in each of Hammel’s last seven starts.
Before Friday, though, the Rockies hadn’t had much luck against the A’s in interleague play. They had lost seven straight in Oakland and hadn’t won at the Coliseum since June 14, 1997, their longest active losing streak at any road ballpark.
Hammel dominated the A’s without much problem, retiring 20 of the first 22 batters he faced. He struck out Jack Cust three times and didn’t allow a runner past second until Suzuki’s solo home run with two outs in the seventh.
“I’m trying to let (management) know I can get deep into ballgames,” Hammel said. “I’ve been doing that pretty routinely lately. They’re an aggressive hitting ballclub, so we had a lot of early swings (and) I kept my pitch count low. That helped out.”
Randy Flores relieved Hammel with one out in the eighth, but had to leave after getting hit in the left shoulder by Cust’s single. Joel Peralta then walked Holiday and Giambi to load the bases before Suzuki fouled out to first baseman Helton to escape the jam.
The Rockies scored an unearned run in the first then got some more help from Oakland’s defense during a three-run third when starting pitcher Dallas Braden’s throw on Dexter Fowler’s sacrifice attempt pulled first baseman Daric Barton off the bag. Two batters later, Helton hit a two-run double and Atkins followed with an RBI single to make it 4-0.
Braden (5-7) gave up four runs on five hits in 5 1-3 innings and is winless in his last four starts.
NOTES: The A’s are the only team in the majors without a complete game pitched. They’ve also gone 143 consecutive games without a starting pitcher lasting eight innings, the longest streak in major league history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. … The Rockies didn’t hit a home run for the first time since June 17, ending a streak of eight consecutive games with at least one. It was Colorado’s longest streak since homering in 10 straight games from Aug. 5-15, 2008.