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Neagle wins his second straight against Cubs

8/10/2002

DENVER (AP) -- Hammered by opposing hitters all season, Denny Neagle has found a team he can tame.

Neagle pitched three-hit ball over seven shutout innings, and the Colorado Rockies beat the Chicago Cubs 2-0 Friday night for their fourth straight win.

The game was the fastest of the season at Coors Field, taking only 2 hours, 19 minutes. It was third shutout of the year at Colorado, all thrown by the Rockies.

And it tied a Coors Field record for fewest runs in a game, matching a 2-0 Atlanta victory in 1995. The Rockies have played one 1-0 game at home in their history, a rain-shortened win at Mile High Stadium over Atlanta in 1994.

Neagle, restored to the rotation last week after spending a month in the bullpen because of a string of poor starts, had his second straight solid outing -- both against the Cubs. He beat them 2-1 in Chicago last Saturday.

"I guess Neagle has our number,'' Cubs manager Bruce Kimm said.
"We've faced him twice in the last week and haven't been able to
do a dang thing against him. You don't expect to get shut out in Colorado.''

Neagle (6-7) walked one and struck out a season-high eight. He
outdueled rookie Carlos Zambrano (2-3), who also went seven
innings, allowing four hits and one run.

"He was filthy,'' manager Clint Hurdle said of his left-hander. "Eight strikeouts. Quick. Great changeup again. Threw some real good curveballs, which made his fastball look about 10 mph faster than it really was. He controlled bat speed all night.

"His strike-to-ball ratio was phenomenal, almost 3-to-1. He
attacked the zone with three pitches. Just an outstanding
performance.''

Neagle threw about 35 changeups in Saturday's win over the Cubs and knew Chicago hitters would be sitting on that pitch in Friday night's rematch.

"When you face a team back-to-back, they can make the adjustment, especially when they have veteran guys like (Moises) Alou, (Fred) McGriff and (Sammy) Sosa,'' Neagle said. "You can't go to the well too many times.

"We mixed it up a little more with more breaking balls and
fastballs in and out. When guys were looking for a changeup, I came
with my curveball. That was my biggest pitch tonight.''

Jose Jimenez pitched the ninth for his 30th save in 33 chances.
He worked around a one-out double by Sosa, and helped the Rockies
win their eighth straight home game.

Brent Butler led off the eighth with a homer, his seventh, off
reliever Juan Cruz.

The Rockies pushed across a run in the first. href="http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/profile?statsId=6550">Juan Pierre singled, went to third on Jay Payton's single and scored on Larry
Walker's double-play grounder.

Alex Gonzalez led off the Cubs' eighth with a triple off Todd Jones into the right-field corner but was stranded. Jones struck out two of the next three batters, retiring the other on a popup.

"When you give up a leadoff triple, you do what you can to get a strikeout,'' Jones said. "Once you get that, then you've got a little ground to work with. Usually a leadoff triple leads to one if not more runs. I made some good pitches after that, but I got pretty lucky, too.''

Zambrano retired 13 straight batters before Butler singled with two outs in the fifth.

Alou led off the Cubs' second with a single but, after a fly
ball, he was erased on Gonzalez's double-play grounder.

After Alou's single, Neagle retired 16 of the next 17 batters,
allowing only a walk to Sosa, the NL's home-run leader.

Neagle struck out the side in the first and sixth. Neagle fanned
Sosa on a slider leading off the seventh for his fourth straight
strikeout.

With two outs in the seventh, Alou doubled to left-center. But
Neagle then got Corey Patterson on a groundout.

Todd Helton singled with one out in the seventh, but Zambrano got Todd Zeile on a flyball and Sandy Alomar on a fielder's choice grounder.

Game notes
The Cubs placed INF Delino DeShields on waivers for the
purpose of giving him his unconditional release and purchased the
contract of right-handed reliever Will Cunnane from Triple-A Iowa.
... The Rockies recalled RHP Aaron Cook, one of their top
prospects, from Triple-A Colorado Springs. Cook takes the roster
spot vacated by RHP Rick White, who was designated for assignment.
... With a crowd of 41,131, the Rockies exceeded 2 million fans,
becoming the eighth major league team to do so this season.