9:05 PM ET, March 20, 2006
Hi Corbett Field, Tucson, Arizona
TUCSCON, Ariz. (AP) -- Luis Gonzalez has some pop in his bat, too.Colorado's second baseman extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a three-run homer off Shawn Estes in the Rockies' 8-4 win over the San Diego Padres on Monday night.It was the first homer for Gonzalez, who is hitting .417. His spring streak is the longest for the Rockies since a 16-game run by Todd Helton in 2000."I'm just looking forward to watching him play in that role and getting more opportunities to help us be productive offensively as well as defensively," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.Cory Sullivan added his own three-run homer later in the second inning to stake Colorado to an early 6-0 lead, and Brad Hawpe's two-run shot off Clay Hensley in the sixth made it 8-4.Before the power surge, the Rockies had managed just two homers from their regulars all spring.Rockies starter Aaron Cook cruised through the first five innings but allowed three runs on four hits and two walks in the sixth. Khalil Greene hit a sacrifice fly to center for the second out. Mark Bellhorn followed with RBI double and Eric Young added pinch-hit run-scoring single.When Cook threw over to first to keep Young close, a fan yelled, "Let's go! We've got stuff to do!"Cook's night was through when he walked Dave Roberts and Mike Cameron to load the bases. Zach McClellan then surrendered an infield single to Ben Johnson that made it 6-4, and Mike Piazza grounded into a fielder's choice at short. He began the inning with a groundout to short."It's still spring training, fortunately," Cook said. "That's just something I get to build off of and use the first five (innings) to continue to work like that and use the last one as part of my conditioning."Estes also had just the one bad inning, allowing six earned runs on six hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out four.With all their players back in camp from the World Baseball Classic, both teams used lineups that looked more like it was opening day than another meaningless March matchup."It was nice to know that's the lineup that's probably going to be out there opening day," Cook said. "It just helps everybody's timing, rhythm, for them to get used to my pace when I'm pitching, where they're going to be on certain pitches."And he was especially pleased to see the three home runs that his teammates hit."We've got a young lineup with a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of strength," Cook said. "We've got guys who have proven themselves at the minor league level. Now it's just time for them to step out and do it at the big league level."The only non-regular in Colorado's lineup was catcher Yorvit Torrealba, who made his spring debut behind the plate, catching six innings.Although he didn't have to test his arm at all, Torrealba, who had been limited to pinch-hit and DH duties, proclaimed his return to the lineup a success."Before, I didn't even feel a part of the team because I wasn't playing," Torrealba said. "I'm pain-free, so I'm happy about it."An offseason acquisition from Seattle, Torrealba was expected to vie for the starting job until he bulked up over the winter with the help of a personal trainer. He gained muscle but lost mobility and quickly ended up with a sore throwing shoulder at camp.Meanwhile, 31-year-old Danny Ardoin has had the best spring of his career and is penciled in as the starter. ^Notes:@ The Rockies assigned six players to their minor league camp Monday: RHPs Nate Field, Bret Prinz, and Keiichi Yabu, LHPs Steve Colyer and Randy Williams and C Dan Conway. ... Colorado's No. 4 starter, Byung-Hyun Kim, and Sun-Woo Kim, in the running for the fifth starter spot, returned to camp Monday after pitching for Korea in the WBC and each threw three innings against the Rockies' top minor league hitters. ... Colorado is off Tuesday. The Padres play the White Sox in Tucson, where they also set up a "B" game to make up for their rainout Sunday against Arizona so they can get starter Brian Sweeney his regular work.