DENVER (AP) -- Jeff Austin wasn't about to let Coors Field
deprive him of his first major league win.
Shrugging off the burdens of the hitter-friendly ballpark,
Austin took a shutout into the seventh inning, and Aaron Boone and
Jose Guillen each hit two-run homers as the Cincinnati Reds beat
the Colorado Rockies 7-2 on Thursday.
"He doesn't get rattled," Reds manager Bob Boone said of
Austin, who was making his second big league start. "He never got
rattled in this park, and that is pretty special."
Austin (1-1), who had a two-hit shutout through six innings,
departed after walking the first two batters in the seventh.
Pinch-hitter Greg Norton hit a two-run double off reliever Gabe
White to cut Cincinnati's lead to 7-2.
"You just go out and pitch like anyplace else -- keep the ball
down, hit your spots, change speeds, nothing more," Austin said.
"Baseball is baseball. You've got to pitch your game.
"Maybe I changed a little bit here. I threw a few more sliders
than curves. Those walks in the seventh inning bothered me. I
didn't like to finish that way. I had gotten there by attacking
hitters. Then I started to nitpick."
All seven of Cincinnati's runs came with two outs. The Reds won
for the sixth time in eight games and posted their third straight
Austin said being staked to an early 7-0 lead was "huge."
"It helped me relax. I could throw a curveball without
worrying," he said.
Aaron Boone had three hits, including two doubles, and three
RBIs. He also made a diving stop near the third base line to rob
Preston Wilson in the eighth.
"Jeff was awesome," Aaron Boone said. "We need guys like him
to step up if we're going to make a run. I think we're starting to
Austin, who made 31 relief appearances over two seasons for
Kansas City before being acquired by Cincinnati on March 6, gave up
a leadoff single to Jose Hernandez in the second and issued two
walks in the third, but escaped without any damage. The only other
hit Austin allowed was a one-out single by Chris Stynes in the
Nelson Cruz (3-2) gave up seven runs and nine hits in five
innings for his second straight loss. He struck out a career-high
Cruz made some mistakes," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.
"He got some balls up in the zone. He got beat with some breaking
balls, his third-best pitch.
"We need to hit better. Three hits in this ballpark? Come on."
Cruz said he got what he deserved.
"Every mistake I made they made me pay for,'' he said. ``It was
just one of those days. But it's something I can fix."
The Reds made it 6-0 in the third. Sean Casey singled and, with
two outs, Boone hit an RBI double. Guillen then homered to
left-center, his fifth.
After Cruz struck out the first two batters in the fourth, Lopez
homered, his second.
Austin, who began the season at Triple-A Louisville, got his
first major league hit, a single in the second.
The Rockies placed INF-OF Chris Richard on the 15-day
disabled list with a strained left hamstring and purchased the
contract of OF Mark Sweeney from Triple-A Colorado Springs. To make
room for Sweeney on the 40-man roster, RHP Denny Stark was moved
from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL. Stark went on the
15-day DL on March 29 because of a strained upper back muscle. ...
The Rockies also recalled RHP Scott Elarton from his rehabilitation
assignment, activated him from the 15-day DL and optioned him to
Colorado Springs. ... Reds SS Barry Larkin, who went on the 15-day
disabled list April 14 with a strained left calf, took batting
practice but isn't expected to be activated until the weekend
series in San Francisco. ... Rockies pitchers tied a club record
with 16 strikeouts. Cincinnati's Adam Dunn fanned four times.