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Rockies off to worst-ever start

PHOENIX (AP) -- Brad Halsey battled all spring to get the No. 5
spot in the Arizona Diamondbacks' rotation. In his first start, he
was calm, poised and always in command.

The 24-year-old left-hander struck out a career-best seven in
six-plus innings on Monday night to lead the Diamondbacks to a 2-0
victory over the Colorado Rockies, who lost their fifth in a row
and are off to the worst start in their 13-year history.

"I wouldn't necessarily say that I'm surprised," Halsey said.
"I know what I'm capable of. You're going to have good games and
you're going to have bad games, but I know when I'm right that I
can be very effective."

Halsey allowed five hits, walked one and hit a batter in front
of 18,742, the smallest crowd for an Arizona home game in the
franchise's eight seasons.

"I'm always impressed by his composure," Diamondbacks manager
Bob Melvin said. "He always looks like nothing's going to bother
him."

Brian Bruney, Mike Koplove and Brandon Lyon completed the
shutout. It was Lyon's third save in four chances.

Colorado's 1-5 start is its worst ever, as is its 0-4 road
record.

Halsey (1-0), who came to Arizona in the trade for Randy
Johnson, never allowed a runner to reach third base and threw
first-pitch strikes to 20 of the 22 batters he faced in the longest
outing of his young big-league career. He had never gone more than
5 2-3 innings.

"He had a very effective outing," Colorado manager Clint
Hurdle said, "good fastball command, an exceptional slider
tonight, with an occasional change-up just to make his fastball
stay sharp. We saw him in spring training. You see him throw on the
side and guys are like 'Wow, I really think we can get him.' Then
they come back and he had a little bit more than they thought.
Tonight, again, he's got a little bit more than we think."

Halsey was making his eighth major league start. He had seven
for the New York Yankees last season.

Jason Jennings (0-2) gave up two runs in the first on Troy
Glaus' RBI double and Shawn Green's run-scoring single, then
retired the next 10 batters.

"You never win a game in the first inning, but sometimes you
can lose it," Hurdle said. "Sometimes it's a hard thing to
swallow."

Jennings allowed two runs and three hits in six innings, just
one hit after the first. Jennings struck out five and walked four,
one intentionally, before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the
seventh.

"Really in the first inning I made one bad pitch, the pitch to
Green," Jennings said. "The pitch to Glaus wasn't a bad pitch. I
don't really know how he kept it fair."

It was the best outing by the Rockies' pitchers in the young
season.

"At this point, we'd just really like to have a win," Jennings
said. "We've lost four in a row. We pitched well as a staff, but
we're here to win games, not just pitch well."

Todd Helton was 3-for-3 for Colorado, all singles -- two of them
bloopers.

Byung-Hyun Kim received only scattered applause when he relieved
Jennings in his first appearance in Arizona since he left the
Diamondbacks two seasons ago.

Melvin lifted Halsey after Michael Restovich led off the seventh
with a single. Bruney came on to strike out Jeff Baker and J.D.
Closser, then got pinch-hitter Luis Gonzalez to ground out to end
the inning.

The Diamondbacks gave Halsey a 2-0 lead when Quinton McCracken
walked, then scored from first on Glaus' two-out double that hit
the left-field foul line and bounced into the corner. Green
followed with an RBI single.

Jennings walked the first two batters, on four pitches, in the
fifth, but Halsey struck out trying to bunt, then Craig Counsell
hit into a double play.

Asked if he had penciled in Halsey for another start on Sunday,
Melvin said with a laugh, "I've got him penned in now. I've got
him Sharpied in."

Game notes
The previous smallest crowd was 21,710 against Milwaukee
last Sept. 29. ... Arizona placed RHP Oscar Villarreal on the
15-day disabled list with a right rotator cuff strain. RHP Lance
Cormier was recalled from Triple-A Tucson. ... CF Jose Cruz Jr. was
out of the Diamondbacks starting lineup for the second straight day
with tightness in his lower back. ... Colorado entered the game
with a 9.86 ERA, worst in the majors.