DENVER (AP) -- The New York Yankees had a simple plan for their
first trip to Coors Field: score as many runs as possible.
New York had 17 hits and homered three times at the
hitter-friendly stadium to help Mike Mussina (10-3) overcome a rough start.
"You're in the on-deck circle and you're very close to being in
scoring position from there,'' Yankees manager Joe Torre said.
"Again, it's the same for both teams and you just have to hold on
and hope for the best.''
Scoring and home runs have been down at Coors Field this season,
but balls were flying all over the park Tuesday night.
In the first 35 games at Coors Field, there were an average of
10 runs and two homers per game. Colorado and New York combined for
10 runs, 15 hits and three homers by the third inning.
Every Yankees starter had a hit by the third, including Mussina,
and New York scored in five of the first six innings.
"Any time you're on the road you like to score early,
especially in this place,'' Jeter said. "We scored, they came back
and we just kept pouring it on. You just try to score as many runs
as you can.''
Colorado had five runs and eight hits in the first five innings,
but still trailed by two.
The Rockies finished with 12 hits, but still lost for the eighth
time in 11 games. Colorado is 2-8 in interleague games this season.
Rockies starter Jason Jennings (8-3) had his worst outing of the
season to lose for the first time in 10 starts. He allowed six runs
and nine hits in three innings to end a seven-game winning streak.
"He was a little overamped,'' Colorado manager Clint Hurdle
said. "He was not getting ahead of counts and not able to execute
the pitches he wanted to. He has pitched so well coming into this
point, it is tough to see it, but it's part of the maturation
Ventura hit his 17th homer of the season, a two-run shot in the
ninth, and had a run-scoring single in the first.
Jeter, back in the lineup after bruising his left knee Sunday
against the Mets, hit a solo homer in the first and had run-scoring
singles in the fourth and sixth.
Alfonso Soriano, who had two hits in his previous 14 at-bats,
had a single, a double and triple in his first four at-bats. He
finished 3-for-4 after walking in the eighth.
"If you get Jeter going, you get Soriano going, it really makes
it a lot tougher on them to get through the middle of our batting
order,'' Torre said.
Mussina allowed four runs in the first three innings, but gave
up just two hits in his last three. He allowed five runs and eight
hits in six innings to win for the fifth time in six starts.
Mike Stanton got four outs for his first save since Aug. 4, 1998
Colorado's Larry Walker went 3-for-5 with a double and triple.
Torre put Nick Johnson in left field to get his bat in the
lineup, but the rookie struggled in Colorado's expansive outfield.
Johnson, who had split time at first base and designated hitter
with Jason Giambi, looked shaky even on routine fly balls.
In the second inning, he started back before a single by Juan
Uribe dropped in front of him, then he appeared to lose a ball in
the lights on Walker's triple in the third.
"The more and more I'm out there, the more comfortable I'm
going to feel,'' said Johnson, who finished 1-for-4 and was
replaced by Marcus Thames in the seventh.
"When my name is in the lineup out there, I have to find a way
to get it done so there isn't a circus running around the bases.''
New York's Shane Spencer had a solo homer in the second inning,
his fifth, and finished 3-for-5.
The Yankees' first visit to Colorado since opening Coors Field
with an exhibition game in 1995 created a buzz.
The line to buy bleacher seats started at 10:15 a.m. -- nearly
nine hours before game time -- and fans rushed toward the field on
the New York side of the field once the gates opened. They were
about 15 deep during batting practice.
Cheers drowned out the boos when Jeter homered in the first, and
chants of "Here we go Yankees, he we go!'' rang out during the
"It was great that the fans came out to watch tonight because
the Yankees are a great team,'' Butler said. "They don't get to
see them every day and we don't either. It's fun to play against
A steady stream of ashes from a large wildfire southwest of
Denver fell during batting practice ... Butler's only other career
homer was Aug. 8, 2001, against the Chicago Cubs. ... The Yankees
lead the majors with 109 homers. ... Ventura's homer was the first
allowed by Rockies closer Jose Jimenez since Aug. 11, 2001 at
Cincinnati, a span of 45 games.