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Rockies blanked for first time in 82 games

6/1/2003

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Kirk Rueter doesn't see anything special
about his years of consistency -- not even after beating a team that
can't seem to stay consistent from day to day.

Barry Bonds hit a two-run double, and Rueter pitched into the
eighth inning as the San Francisco Giants won their fifth straight,
beating the Colorado Rockies 4-0 Sunday.

Rueter (6-1) extended his strong start to the season with
another efficient performance, allowing seven hits in 7 1/3
innings. Five days after his worst start of the season against the
Rockies in Denver, the left-hander walked just one batter and
didn't allow a runner to reach third base.

Quiet success is nothing new for Rueter, who's been a pillar of
the Giants' rotation since 1996. The victory was his 90th with the
Giants, tying the unassuming ground-ball pitcher for fourth place in
San Francisco's history.

"I just love pitching for this club, and I hope that I can keep
doing it,'' Rueter said. "I do nothing different. I'm the same
every game. ... My approach was no different than it was (earlier)
in Colorado. I always just try to keep the ball on the ground, and
today I got two double plays that really helped me.''

Rueter is unbeaten in his last six starts, going 4-0 with a 3.32
ERA. When he left in the eighth after throwing 121 pitches, he
acknowledged a standing ovation with a wave of his glove.

"I let him pitch deep because he was still throwing well,''
said Giants manager Felipe Alou, who managed Rueter in Montreal in
the early 1990s. "Obviously, now he is more mature, (and) has
better command and more success. I'm not surprised because of the
man behind the pitcher. He's a winner. He always brings the same
attitude and the same pitches.''

The Rockies hadn't been shut out in 82 games -- the longest
active streak in the majors. Colorado fell one game short of the
franchise record for consecutive games without a shutout loss.

Yorvit Torrealba also had a two-run double for the Giants, whose
winning streak began at the start of a 12-game homestand. San
Francisco improved to 20-8 at Pacific Bell Park against the
Rockies, who lost their third straight following a five-game
winning streak.

Colorado is the majors' best home team (21-8) and the worst road
team (6-22). Manager Clint Hurdle was weary after another loss away
from Coors Field -- and the loss of surging second baseman Ronnie
Belliard, who sprained his right ankle.

"I feel like I'm playing with a Rubik's Cube,'' Hurdle said.
"I feel like I'm 10 years old. I just can't solve it. We still
have issues, and every day, they're different issues. It's
confusing sometimes.''

The Rockies opened the four-game series with a wave of
confidence after sweeping a three-game series from the Dodgers, but
they reverted to inconsistency against San Francisco. All seven of
their hits against Rueter were singles.

"We still don't know why we can't bring it on the road,'' said
Todd Helton, who went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. "It doesn't
make a lot of sense.''

Three relievers got the final five outs, with Felix Rodriguez
pitching the ninth. The Rockies hadn't been shut out since last
Aug. 31 against San Diego.

Bonds drove home the Giants' first two runs in the first inning
with a double into the right-center gap against Aaron Cook (2-5).
Torrealba, San Francisco's impressive backup catcher, drove home
two more runs in the third.

Cook has won just once in his last eight starts, and he found
big trouble in each of the first four innings of his first career
start in San Francisco. He allowed six hits and six walks in six
innings.

Colorado also lost Belliard, who sprained his ankle in the
seventh inning while running hard toward second as the Giants
turned a double play on Jay Payton's grounder.

Belliard attempted to stop before he reached the base -- and in
doing so, he awkwardly planted his right foot, then stumbled
forward three steps before flopping on the dirt.

Belliard was 2-for-3 when he left, and he's hitting .452
(14-for-31) over Colorado's last eight games. He has started 46 of
the Rockies' 57 games at second base, but he'll definitely miss
Monday's series finale before Colorado re-evaluates him back home.

Game notes
Belliard left Colorado's locker room on crutches. ... J.T. Snow hit in the Giants' No. 2 slot for the first time since May 7,
2001, and just the sixth time in his career. ... Brent Butler
replaced Belliard at second base in the bottom of the seventh,
making a diving stop of Marquis Grissom's grounder a few moments
later.