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Stark hits two-run homer for first hit in majors

DENVER (AP) -- Denny Stark isn't making manager Clint Hurdle's
job any easier.

Stark made his second strong start for Colorado and added a
two-run homer for his first career hit as the Colorado Rockies beat the
Atlanta Braves 7-3 Saturday.

Stark (2-0), who came to Colorado in an offseason deal that sent
Jeff Cirillo to Seattle, was called up from Triple-A Colorado
Springs on Monday to fill in for injured starter Shawn Chacon.

Stark has pitched well in his first two starts with the Rockies,
but Chacon's strained chest muscle is getting better and he's
scheduled to come off the disabled list Friday.

"We've got a very pleasant situation which we're going to have
to deal with eventually," said Hurdle, who is 10-2 at home since
taking over for Buddy Bell on April 26. "The kid's pitched lights
out, there's no doubt about it. He was quick and efficient, quick
and efficient. He just kept making pitches."

Stark was in the running for the fifth spot in Colorado's
rotation, but he was sent down to Colorado Springs after going 0-1
with an 8.64 ERA in spring training.

He has made the most of his opportunity this time.

Stark allowed one run on four hits and struck out five in seven
innings against the Braves. He pitched six scoreless innings in his
Rockies debut, a 7-3 victory over Florida on Monday.

"Obviously it's the first time in the organization. I wanted to
impress some people and maybe I was just pressing a little too
hard," Stark said about his rough spring. "Now I've been throwing
on a regular basis and I think that's helped a little bit too."

Colorado got good production from the bottom of its lineup to
win for the eighth time in 12 games.

The Rockies' No. 7-9 hitters drove in six runs and combined for
seven of Colorado's 12 hits. Jose Ortiz was 4-for-4, Bobby
Estalella had two hits and drove in three runs, and Stark drove in
two runs.

"What hurts is the bottom of the order killed us," Atlanta
manager Bobby Cox said. "Anybody can swing the bats, but the
pitcher hitting a home run was a big hit at the time."

Atlanta starter Kevin Millwood (2-5) hit his second career home
run, marking the first time in nearly six years two starters
homered in the same game. Kevin Foster of the Cubs and Colorado's
Marvin Freeman were the last to do it on May 23, 1995.

Despite his success at the plate, Millwood continued to struggle
on the mound. He allowed seven runs -- five earned -- and seven hits
in four innings for his fourth straight loss.

Millwood has not won since April 17, when he relieved Greg
Maddux in the second inning of a 2-1 victory over the Mets. He has
allowed four or more earned runs in four of six starts.

"It seems like I'm trying to stay out of the big inning and I
just can't do it," said Millwood, who had been 3-0 with a 1.91 ERA
at Coors Field before Saturday.

"That's what has been killing me lately, is big innings. I
think my pitches are fine, I'm just not locating very well, and
I've worked on it as much as I can."

Estalella put the Rockies up 2-1 in the fourth inning with a
two-run double to left, and Stark followed with a two-run shot on
the next pitch, his first hit in his third career at-bat.

"That wasn't in the reports that we got," Hurdle said of
Stark's power. "We just know that he swings hard and every once in
a while you run into one."

Colorado scored three more in the fifth on an error by first
baseman Wes Helms, a run-scoring single by Ortiz and a sacrifice
fly by Estalella.

Estalella is 7-for-16 with four homers and nine RBI in his last
five games.

Millwood opened the scoring with a solo homer to left in the
third inning, his first since Sept. 14, 1999 against San Diego.

Chipper Jones had a run-scoring single in the eighth inning for
Atlanta, which had won three straight.

Game notes
Atlanta is 60-33 all-time against Colorado. ... The Braves
placed SS Mark DeRosa on the 15-day DL after he injured ligaments
in his right ankle Friday. INF Jesse Garcia was called up from
Triple-A Richmond to take his place. ... A broken bat flew about 20
rows into the stands on a single by Ortiz in the second inning, but
no one was injured. A woman was injured Friday when she was hit in
the head after Atlanta's Javy Lopez lost control of his bat on a
swing.