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Chacon tosses six scoreless innings in victory

5/18/2003

DENVER (AP) -- Rebounding from three straight ugly outings, Shawn Chacon reverted to the form that made him the NL pitcher of the
month in April.

Chacon pitched six scoreless innings, Jay Payton homered and the
Colorado Rockies beat the Montreal Expos 4-0 Sunday in the 22nd
shutout ever at Coors Field.

Chacon (5-2) allowed four hits to outduel Tomo Ohka (3-5).

"I didn't try to do too much today,'' Chacon said. "I just
tried to stay within myself and get back to what I had done in
spring training and in April.''

Chacon, 4-0 with a 1.04 ERA in April, was 0-2 with a 10.13 ERA
in his previous three starts this month.

"I think part of the problem was overanalyzing what I had done
in the last few starts,'' Chacon said. "I had been trying to go
harder when things got tough. When guys get on base, you tend to
get in that trap where you want to go harder and make pitches
nastier. Today I just let off the gas a little bit and let my stuff
work.''

It was the Rockies' second shutout this season and 13th overall
at Coors Field, which opened in 1995. Chacon was part of the other
one this year as well, pitching seven scoreless innings in an 8-0
win over San Diego on April 20.

After the Rockies stranded a runner at third in each of the
first two innings, Payton hit a solo homer in the third, his sixth.

"It's been a while,'' Payton said. "I've been getting some
base hits, but I haven't been driving the ball. Fortunately, today
I got a pitch I could handle.''

Colorado went up 2-0 in the fifth. With two outs, Ronnie
Belliard walked and went to third on Payton's single. Belliard
scored on Todd Helton's infield single as second baseman Henry
Mateo couldn't flip to shortstop Orlando Cabrera in time to get
Payton at second.

Ohka allowed two runs and six hits in six innings.

Belliard added a two-run double in the eighth off Dan Smith,
pushing the lead to 4-0.

"We've been waiting for that kind of hit for the last two
weeks,'' Belliard said.

Despite the loss, the Expos went 5-2 on the just-completed road
trip.

"I'll take that any time out,'' manager Frank Robinson said.

Montreal was 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position and
stranded 11.

"I lost count,'' Robinson said. "It seemed like more than
that. We had plenty of opportunities.''

Chacon allowed two straight one-out singles in the first but got
Vladimir Guerrero and Brad Wilkerson on groundouts.

In the third, Orlando Cabrera singled with two outs and went to
third on Chacon's wild pickoff throw, but Mateo grounded out.

After Guerrero singled leading off the fourth and Wil Cordero
was hit by a pitch with one out, Chacon retired the next two
batters.

Chacon walked the leadoff batter in the fifth and sixth but
again escaped damage.

The Rockies stranded two runners in the sixth and squandered
another scoring opportunity in the seventh when Belliard was thrown
out at the plate on Preston Wilson's short fly to center field Endy
Chavez.

Montreal threatened in the seventh and eighth against four
Colorado relievers. The Expos put two runners aboard in each inning
but couldn't capitalize.

Jose Jimenez pitched a perfect ninth to finish the six-hitter.

Montreal used all of its bench players, and pitcher Joey Eischen
struck out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth.

"We don't like to get down to that,'' Robinson said. "I just
used the players that I thought I had to use early to try to win
the ballgame. I wasn't thinking about the eighth and ninth innings.
I took my shots when I had to and had to use a pitcher in the
ninth.''

Robinson noted that he was forced to use pitcher T.J. Tucker as pinch-hitter last year.

Game notes
The Rockies used more pitchers (six) than they ever have to
record a shutout. In the previous 41 shutouts in franchise history,
they had never used more than four pitchers. ... Expos 3B Fernando
Tatis, who left Saturday's game with a strained left groin, did not
play. ... 2B Jose Vidro, needing a day off, did not start but
delivered a pinch-hit single in the seventh. ... Colorado OF Larry
Walker got his second straight day off. Walker is bothered by left
biceps tendinitis. ... Rockies LHP Denny Neagle, on the DL since
March 29 with stiffness in his left elbow, made his fourth rehab
start Saturday night and earned the win for Triple-A Colorado
Springs in a 9-5 decision over Tucson. Neagle went six innings,
allowing 11 hits and four runs, three earned.