Free-falling Rockies slip under .500 mark

By MERI-JO BORZILLERI - THE GAZETTE Updated: June 4, 2006 at 12:00 am • Published: June 4, 2006
DENVER - As the Colorado Rockies first surprised, then skidded, they always could point toward their pitching as cause for comfort. Now even that is no sure thing. The Rockies are free falling, their fourth straight loss coming in a 13-0 loss to the Florida Marlins on Saturday at Coors Field. It was Colorado’s worst defeat of the past two seasons. At 27-28, the Rockies are below .500, a position they haven’t seen since this season’s third game. The loss marks the third time Colorado has been shut out since May 26, and the team’s 15th loss in 22 games. The 13-run margin is the Rockies’ worst loss since Sept. 12, 2004, when San Diego beat Colorado 15-2. Byung-Hyun Kim (3-3), last seen giving up home run No. 715 to Barry Bonds on May 28, went from trivia answer to perplexing question in the space of two starts. The Marlins’ Alfredo Amezaga, a journeyman who has hit five home runs in his career, tagged Kim for a three-run homer in the fourth to make it 5-0. One inning later, Dan Uggla hit a 424-foot blast for a 6-0 Marlins lead. The Marlins piled on in the ninth, scoring five runs off David Cortes. “I don’t think any player in here’s panicked or worried,” said Todd Helton, who went 1-for-4. “Our team’s good enough where we can turn it around pretty quick.” Kim allowed six runs in five innings, all earned, on nine hits, with two walks and three strikeouts. Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco (4-2) pitched eight innings, allowing eight hits and no runs, as Florida moved to 19-34. “We need to take some of this personal,” manager Clint Hurdle said. While poor starting pitching became a new, unwanted wrinkle in the Rockies early season, an old problem persisted — Colorado can’t seem to score runs lately. The Rockies stranded nine runners. “Can’t hit the ball, can’t catch the ball,” one fan howled after pitcher Tom Martin’s throwing error allowed Nolasco to reach first on an infield ground ball in the sixth. Before Saturday’s game, the Rockies averaged 2.7 runs per game in a 7-14 slide since May 8. The Rockies scored two runs or fewer in 13 of those games. Before the skid, Colorado averaged 4.3 runs per game as the team went 13-8. “We’re pressing pretty hard right now, trying to get it back all at once,” said leadoff hitter Jamey Carroll, who is hitting .302. “It’s definitely not an easy thing and I think everybody is trying to find the right answers, which in a sense can make it even tougher.” Results from the meeting Hurdle announced after the game that Clint Barmes would be the team’s shortstop. Barmes seems to have recovered from his struggles at the plate, and went 2-for-3 Saturday. Hurdle also said pitchers Sun-Woo Kim and infielder Jason Smith would be designated for assignment, and pitcher Scott Dohmann and infielder Omar Quintanilla would be recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs. The moves came as the results of Saturday afternoon’s two-hour meeting that included Hurdle, general manager Dan O’Dowd and club officials. Etc. Rookie Ramon Ramirez, whom Hurdle said has been this season’s biggest surprise, pitched two innings in relief, allowing one hit after taking over for Kim in the sixth. . . . Amezaga was on the Rockies 2005 opening day roster. CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0259 or TODAY Florida (Olsen 3-3, 5.83 ERA) at Colorado (Jennings 3-5, 4.54), 1:05 p.m., Adelphia 32, 850 AM
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