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Brown hurls seven shutout innings, homers

4/7/2002

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Kevin Brown rebounded from a horrible
Opening-Day performance, which wasn't nearly as surprising as his
performance at the plate.

Brown pitched seven shutout innings and also had three hits,
including his second career home run, as the Los Angeles Dodgers
beat the Colorado Rockies 6-4 Sunday to complete a three-game
series sweep.

The Dodgers outscored the Rockies 24-6 and outhit them 33-18
after opening the season with three losses to San Francisco, when
they got outscored 24-2 and outhit 32-13.

"I think we rebounded very nicely and obviously got ourselves
back to the square," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said.

Brown (1-1) allowed seven earned runs and nine hits in four
innings of a 9-2 loss Tuesday. Against Colorado, he gave up four
hits, struck out five and walked none, allowing only one runner to
reach second base.

"Outstanding. Bounced back very nicely," Tracy said. "The
thing I thought was great was his strike efficiency early in the
count."

Brown faced only one batter over the minimum because catcher
Chad Kreuter threw out two runners trying to steal and the Dodgers
turned a double play behind him. Brown threw 57 of 79 pitches for
strikes before turning over a 6-0 lead to Paul Quantrill at the
start of the eighth.

"This felt a lot better than the first one, obviously," Brown
said. "It feels better to get a couple hits than give them up. I
did that last time. I felt good today. I felt good the first time,
I just didn't do the job. I made better pitches, that's the way the
old game plays."

Brown was going to pitch the eighth, but was lifted after the
Dodgers scored twice in the seventh for a six-run lead. The
strategy almost backfired.

Colorado greeted Quantrill with three straight hits including an
RBI single by Terry Shumpert. Pinch-hitter Larry Walker hit a
run-scoring double and Juan Uribe had a two-run single off Jesse
Orosco before Todd Helton's inning-ending popup.

Eric Gagne pitched a one-hit ninth for his first career save.

The outing against the Giants was Brown's first since the
37-year-old right-hander underwent surgery on his pitching elbow
Sept. 27.

"Brownie was at his best today," Kreuter said. "He throws
four pitches, kind of modifies a couple by changing speeds on them.
He was able to use all of them today."

Greg Norton, who went hitless in three at-bats against Brown,
including two strikeouts, said the key was location.

"He spotted the ball pretty well," Norton said. "He doesn't
have the same velocity he used to have, but when he needed it, he
lit it up."

Brown hit a 2-0 pitch from Mike Hampton (0-2) into the
left-field seats to begin the sixth, putting the Dodgers ahead 4-0.

Brown also doubled in the fourth and scored on a single by Mark
Grudzielanek, and hit an RBI single off Mike James in the seventh.
His three hits matched his total in 36 at-bats last season.

"He got me, you know? What can I say? He put good swings on
three different pitches," said Hampton, who tied an NL record by
hitting seven home runs last season. "Anybody who's got a bat in
his hands can do damage when the ball's down the middle."

Hampton helped the Dodgers take a 2-0 lead in the third by
walking two batters, including Adrian Beltre with the bases loaded,
and hitting another. Shawn Green drove in the first run with a
single.

Grudzielanek's single in the fourth made it 3-0. It could have been
worse for the Rockies, but Benny Agbayani made an inning-ending
leaping catch before slamming into the left-field fence on Brian
Jordan's drive with two runners on. Marquis Grissom also had an RBI
single in the seventh.

Hampton, touched for six runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings at
St. Louis on Opening Day, gave up six runs, 10 hits and five walks
in six-plus innings. He lowered his earned-run average from 14.73 to 11.17.

"I'll just keep doing the best I can," said Hampton, who
signed a $121 million, eight-year contract before last season.
"That's all I can do."

Brown is in the fourth season of a $105 million, seven-year
deal.

Game notes
The Dodgers raised their batting average from .209 to .241,
while the Rockies went from .179 to .200. ... The start was the
400th of Brown's career. ... Brown, who struck out in his first
at-bat, has 16 hits in 185 at-bats since joining the Dodgers in
1999, and 51 hits in 415 career at-bats (.123). ... Brown's first
homer was off Pete Harnisch at Cincinnati last May 2. ... Walker,
who has a team-leading six hits, and Todd Zeile, who has four,
didn't start for the Rockies. "I told them the other day they were
going to get one of these days off," manager Buddy Bell said. ...
The Rockies play their home opener Monday against Houston while the
Dodgers take the day off before beginning a three-game series at
San Francisco.