Rockies Complete 3-Game Sweep of Yankees

Friday, June 22nd 2007, 7:30 am
By: News On 6

The high altitude of Coors Field got to Roger Clemens. Unfortunately for New York, the thin air didn't have its expected impact on the Yankees' bats.

Clemens was denied his 350th win and the Colorado Rockies completed a surprising three-game sweep of the Yankees with a 4-3 victory Thursday.

``I don't want to see them again, how's that?'' manager Joe Torre said.

Clemens (1-2) probably doesn't want to see Coors Field again, either. He was trying to become the first major leaguer to win 350 games since Warren Spahn did it for Milwaukee on Sept. 29, 1963.

Instead, he lost for the second straight time. He gave up solo homers to Garrett Atkins, his eighth, and Troy Tulowitzki, his fourth, to erase the Yankees' 2-0 lead in the second. Tulowitzki's shot to left-center traveled an estimated 445 feet.

Torre said Clemens got gassed because of a combination of the 93-degree weather and the high altitude.

``I was taking deep breaths on the mound. My mouth got dry a couple times,'' Clemens said. ``That was the more difficult part. Heat or cold is not a big deal. The one inning a storm blew in and the wind changed direction. The wind hit my chest and caused me to throw the ball out of the zone. But I made the adjustment. Then, the wind started to blow straight out.''

Five years ago, the Yankees scored a record 41 times on their first trip to Coors Field. But much has changed since then.

The humidor has taken full effect and so has Colorado's retooled pitching staff. This time, the Rockies outscored New York 13-5, prompting their fans to wave brooms as the dejected Bombers swirled into their clubhouse after Thursday's game.

The Yankees had won 14 of 17 coming into town and never saw this thumping coming even though the Rockies are playing well _ a major league-best 20-7 since May 22 and an impressive 9-3 against the AL East.

In other Interleague action, it was Texas 6, the Chicago Cubs 5; Baltimore 6, San Diego 3; the Los Angeles Dodgers 8, Toronto 4; and Seattle 3, Pittsburgh 0.

Holliday's RBI single with one out in the fifth broke a 2-2 tie and chased the Rocket, who failed to hold a 2-0 lead and allowed four earned runs and seven hits with one walk and six strikeouts.

``It all starts with the pitching,'' said Rockies slugger Matt Holliday, who leads the majors with 107 hits. ``The Yankees are a great offensive team and for them to give up only five runs in three games, on a warm week? Three days of warm weather. The ball was playing pretty fair but it was jumping pretty good. For them to give up five runs is great.''

Rodrigo Lopez (4-0) survived Hideki Matsui's 428-foot, two-run home run into the rock pile in center field and lasted 5 2-3 innings against the Yankees, who fell 10 1/2 games behind Boston in the AL East.

The Yankees are hoping this detour in Denver doesn't portend another bad stretch like they had the first two months of the season.

``This was just hopefully a pothole that we just didn't like very much,'' Torre said. ``But I don't think we have any doubts on what kind of team we are right now. I think we just hit a bad spot.''

Rangers 6, Cubs 5

Pinch-hitters Kenny Lofton and Frank Catalanotto singled off the gloves of diving Cubs outfielders in the bottom of the ninth inning, producing the winning run in the victory for host Texas.

Lofton started the rally off Bob Howry (3-4) with a leadoff pinch-hit single, a sinking liner to left that Alfonso Soriano hauled in after a diving attempt but couldn't hold onto when he hit the ground.

Eric Gagne (2-0), the fifth Texas pitcher, walked one in his scoreless inning.

Orioles 6, Padres 3

Alberto Castillo hit his first home run in more than two years, leading Erik Bedard and visiting Baltimore to the win.

The Orioles took two of three from the NL West-leading Padres. The two wins came after a nine-game losing streak by Baltimore, which fired manager Sam Perlozzo on Monday and replaced him with Dave Trembley on an interim basis.

David Wells (3-5) allowed three runs _ two earned _ and 10 hits in 6 1-3 innings.

Bedard (5-4) gave up two runs and five hits in six innings. He struck out nine and walked none, and left after straining his left hamstring.

Dodgers 8, Blue Jays 4

Jeff Kent hit a two-run home run and Russell Martin doubled to spark a six-run rally in the eighth inning for visiting Los Angeles.

The Dodgers trailed 3-2 to begin the eighth before mounting a one-out rally against right-hander Casey Janssen (2-1), who didn't retire any of the six batters he faced, allowing six runs and five hits and a walk.

Rudy Seanez (4-1) got two outs for the victory.

The Dodgers' rally denied Toronto right-hander Shaun Marcum his third straight victory. Marcum gave up two runs and two hits over six innings, walking three and striking out one.

Mariners 3, Pirates 0

Felix Hernandez (4-4) allowed six hits in eight innings in his best start since he returned from a forearm injury and host Seattle shut out Pittsburgh for the second straight game.

Ichiro Suzuki had two more hits for the Mariners to extend his hitting streak to 16 games, the longest current one in the majors. He has at least one hit in 41 of his last 43 games.

John Van Benschoten (0-2), making his second major league start since September 2004, allowed six hits and three runs in five innings. He walked two and struck out two.