DENVER -- Aaron Cook reviewed video of his past performances, some from as far back as eight years ago when he was first called up to the big leagues, in a bid to recapture his pitching form.
The film study paid off in a big way Saturday night.Cook overcame his early-season struggles to throw a five-hitter, Miguel Olivo hit his 100th career homer and the Colorado Rockies beat the Florida Marlins 8-1 to gain a doubleheader split."I went out there and just tried to repeat the same delivery, time and time again, without putting any more or any less effort into any pitch, and the ball just came out of my hand good," Cook said.In the opener, Ricky Nolasco limited the Rockies to one run in eight innings and Dan Uggla and Brett Carroll each homered in Florida's 4-1 victory.Showcasing the effective sinker that had eluded him in his three previous outings, Cook (1-2) struck out four and walked two in his 32nd career win at Coors Field -- the most by any pitcher at the ballpark.It was the 10th career complete game for Cook, who also singled twice and scored two runs."I don't know who the player of the game is, but he's got my vote," Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Complete game, along with his own two hits -- he did a nice job for them."Cook, who was 0-2 with a 7.53 ERA in his three previous starts, said the extensive review of pitching tapes, old and new, helped him "remember what my delivery used to be like and how things used to be free and easy.""That's probably as good as it's been in a couple of years," Cook said of his sinker, which helped him get 15 outs on the ground.Rockies manager Jim Tracy said Cook's sinker in particular had wicked movement as it coursed through the strike zone."He jammed guys. He got guys to roll over. He broke some bats," Tracy said. "There were a couple balls squared up and if you are a starting pitcher and you pitch nine innings and only a couple balls get squared up you've got a real good chance to win."Florida's Jorge Cantu, who singled in the opener to extend his hitting streak to 21 games, saw the string come to an end in the nightcap. He was hitless in four at-bats, though his sixth-inning groundout drove in the Marlins' run.Quieted in the opener by Nolasco (2-0), who fanned a season-high nine and walked none in improving to 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA at Coors Field, Rockies batters tagged Nate Robertson (2-1) in the second game.They scored two runs in the first. Dexter Fowler doubled, stole third and scored on catcher John Baker's throwing error. Jason Giambi was hit by a pitch and scored on Melvin Mora's triple.Olivo connected off Robertson, who allowed five runs and five hits in four innings, in the third for his fourth homer of the season, a three-run shot that gave the Rockies a 5-0 lead."Command wasn't that great," Robertson said. "I left a couple pitches out over the plate."Troy Tulowitzki added a two-run double in the sixth."After losing the first one, it was important to come back and get us in the win column," Cook said. "Now we have a chance to go out there and win the series."Colorado's offensive burst was in stark contrast to its ineffectiveness against Nolasco, who has thrived in the Rockies' hitter-friendly stadium."You have to be real careful in this ballpark," said Nolasco, who also credited his catcher, Ronny Paulino. "I was working well with Ronny, keeping these guys off balance. You can't have them leaning over the plate because that's when they'll hurt you. So I pitched inside a little bit more."Nolasco, who had a complete-game victory over Philadelphia in his previous start, probably could have finished again, but Gonzalez said he didn't want him to overdo it.Leo Nunez got three outs for his fourth save in five chances."Nolasco got better as he went on. Our left-hand hitters could do nothing with his slider," Tracy said.Greg Smith (1-2) gave up four runs and eight hits in five innings, including solo shots by Uggla and Carroll.
The opener was preceded by a moment of silence and video tribute for Rockies team president Keli McGregor, who died Tuesday at age 48 while on a business trip in Salt Lake City. A memorial service will be held Sunday at Coors Field ahead of the series finale. ... Colorado OF Brad Hawpe left the opener in the top of the fifth with tightness in his left quadriceps. ... Cantu's hitting streak was the longest by a Marlins player since Kevin Millar had a 25-game stretch in 2002. ... Cook's win snapped a tie with Jason Jennings for the most at Coors Field.