Stark allows only two hits in seven innings


DENVER (AP) -- Locked in a tight wild-card race, the Los Angeles Dodgers had the misfortune of running into a pitcher who loves
throwing in Coors Field.

Denny Stark limited Los Angeles to two hits over seven innings,
and the Colorado Rockies cruised to a 7-1 victory Thursday night.

Shawn Green broke up Stark's shutout bid, leading off the
seventh with his 42nd homer. But that was all the offense the
Dodgers could manage.

Los Angeles, which is tied with San Francisco for the
NL wild-card lead, has lost five of six games.

"It's real early still,'' Green said. "We have almost two and
a half weeks left. Each game is important. But if they (Giants) win
tonight, we are only one game back. If they lose, we're still

Manager Jim Tracy agreed.

"We aren't going to dwell on this,''' he said. "We have to put
this behind us. There are 16 games left in our season, so to hell
with this one. Tomorrow is another day.

"They got some balls to hit, we created some opportunities, and
they took advantage of them. They made some of the best defensive
plays against us that we've seen all year, and they got a great
effort from their starter.''

Stark (10-3) improved to 8-1 at Coors Field this season with a
3.12 ERA, but insisted he has no explanation for his success in a
hitter's park.

"I don't know. "I just try to stay aggressive and keep the
ball down. It was a good night for us,'' he said. "The fact that
those guys are in a pennant race, you want to give them your best
and make them earn it.''

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said Stark "set the tone'' for
what he called "one of the better games we've played all year.
Defensively, that's our best game thus far.''

A rainstorm that dumped 2 inches in 45 minutes delayed the start
of the game by 53 minutes.

A crowd of 25,593 was the smallest in the Rockies' 10-year

Omar Daal (11-8) allowed five runs and seven hits in 3 2/3
innings to take the loss.

Colorado pushed across a run in the second. Terry Shumpert
singled and Ben Petrick walked, and Juan Uribe hit a two-out, RBI

The Rockies made it 4-0 in the third, keyed by Sandy Alomar's
two-run single.

Gabe Kapler doubled to left-center and scored on Todd Helton's
single. With two outs, Shumpert and Petrick both walked, loading
the bases, and Alomar followed with a sharp single to center.

Stark led off the fourth with a double to the left-field corner
and was sacrificed to third. He scored on Todd Zeile's single to

Dave Roberts led off the game with a single and stole second --
his 44th steal, tops in the majors. He was stranded, however, when
Stark struck out Paul Lo Duca and Green and retired Brian Jordan on
a groundout.

After Roberts' first-inning single, Stark retired the next 11
batters. After a two-out walk to Jordan in the fourth, he then
retired seven more in a row.

Shumpert had a solo homer in the seventh, and Kapler added an
RBI single in the eighth for Colorado.

Game notes
Rockies OFs Larry Walker (sore left arm) and Jay Payton
(strained right oblique muscle) were not in the lineup. ... LHP
Mike Hampton will miss his next start, on Saturday, because of a
sprained right ankle and foot. ... Los Angeles LHP Kazuhisa Ishii,
struck in the head by a line drive on Sunday, is scheduled to be
released from a Los Angeles hospital on Friday. ... Stark made a
diving catch of Daal's popped-up bunt in the third. ... LF Petrick
made a diving catch in left-center to rob Lo Duca of a hit in the
fourth. ... Colorado began its final homestand of the season, 10
games in 11 days. ... Stark gave Colorado the distinction of being
the only team in the majors with two rookie 10-game winners. Jason
Jennings is 16-7.