Rockies power up to beat A’s
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – The Colorado Rockies have been the hottest team in baseball the past three weeks, and Brad Hawpe isn’t surprised.
“Everybody’s taking good at-bats and nobody’s giving at-bats away,” Hawpe said after hitting his 100th career home run in the Rockies’ 11-9 win over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday night.
“We had talent,” he added. “We just weren’t putting it together (earlier) and we weren’t playing to our potential.”
Hawpe’s two-run homer in the first inning was one of four hit by Colorado’s surging offense against the struggling A’s, all off Oakland starter Trevor Cahill. The Rockies are 19-3 since June 4.
Ian Stewart, Clint Barmes and Seth Smith all hit solo shots for the Rockies, who homered for the ninth time in 10 games. Colorado has 20 homers overall during that stretch.
The power surge helped the Rockies build an 11-2 lead after six innings before the A’s rallied for seven runs off three Colorado relievers over the final three innings to make it close.
“We obviously made it interesting at the end, but I don’t know that you can play better baseball than we played the first six-plus innings of that game,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “Through the first six innings, there was not a phase of our game we didn’t excel at.”
Every Colorado starter had at least one hit and all but two drove in at least one run. Barmes went 3-for-5 and scored twice while five other players had two hits apiece to help the Rockies.
Colorado also improved to 21-7 since Tracy replaced Clint Hurdle as manager.
Jorge De La Rosa (4-7) gave up two runs and five hits to earn his fourth win in his last five starts after going winless in his first 10 games. The left-hander struck out five and retired 11 of the last 13 batters he faced.
Huston Street worked the ninth for his 18th save after Colorado’s bullpen blew most of an 11-2 lead.
Kurt Suzuki went 2-for-5 with two RBIs for the A’s, who have lost four straight and 12 of 17 overall. Oakland scored seven runs off three Colorado relievers over the final three innings to make it close, but dropped to 5-12 in interleague play.
“We’ve seen it a lot, but, obviously, it was too little too late, but I thought that the way they came back right at the end just shows the heart,” Oakland manager Bob Geren said. “Unfortunately we gave up four home runs and we were down 11-2 at one time and it’s pretty tough coming back from that kind of deficit.”
Hawpe hit his 12th homer of the season off Cahill (5-6) in the first, a two-run shot that landed in the second deck of the Coliseum. Stewart then homered leading off the second before Barmes’ homer in the third made it 4-0. Todd Helton walked following Barmes’ homer and later scored on a wild pitch.
After Oakland cut the lead to 5-2 in the third on Suzuki’s two-run single, Colorado scored twice more in the fourth to chase Cahill. Carlos Gonzalez tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly, then Smith lined a homer over the wall in right-center.
That was sufficient for De La Rosa, who retired nine straight after Suzuki’s hit in the third.
“What he did early in the game, which is what makes him very, very effective, he was very good locating his fastball for strikes early in the game,” Tracy said. “He did start to pitch behind a little bit, but he was able to get back into some counts and make some pitches.”
Cahill, who won his previous three decisions, lasted just 3 2-3 innings and gave up seven runs on eight hits. It’s the rookie right-hander’s first loss since May 27. He’s the first Oakland pitcher to give up four home runs in one game since Barry Zito allowed four in a 14-0 loss to Texas on Aug. 9, 2006.
The Rockies batted around and scored four times in the sixth to go up 11-2 when Tracy handed the game over to his bullpen. But Colorado’s relievers struggled to hold on, giving up one run in the seventh, two in the eighth and four in the ninth before Street retired three of the four batters he faced to end the uprising.
NOTES: Oakland 2B Mark Ellis is scheduled to come off the disabled list and be in the A’s lineup Sunday. Ellis has been on the DL with a strained left calf since April 29. … A’s DH Nomar Garciaparra went 1-for-3 in his first start since coming off the DL on June 12.