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Chacon helps Rockies snap seven-game road skid

6/3/2003

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Shawn Chacon has grown up since last
season, and he's the first to admit it.

It sure shows in his pitching.

Chacon became the first eight-game winner in the National League
and also had two hits, leading the Colorado Rockies to a 4-1
victory over the San Francisco Giants on Monday night.

The 25-year-old right-hander already has three more victories
than he did in 2002, when he went 5-11 in 21 starts before being
optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs.

"There were a lot of little things,'' he said. "I started to
focus better, my preparation between starts, watching video,
becoming a student of the game. What it comes down to is growing up
and maturing.''

Greg Norton homered as the Rockies snapped a seven-game road
losing streak and avoided being swept by San Francisco for the
fourth time in franchise history.

The Giants saw their five-game winning streak end, losing for
the first time on their 12-game homestand.

Both teams begin interleague play Tuesday -- the Giants at home
against Minnesota and the Rockies at home against Cleveland.
Colorado desperately needs to get back to Coors Field; the Rockies
are 7-22 on the road this year.

"It's just important to get a road victory,'' manager Clint
Hurdle said. "We've played them eight games and it's 4-4. It was
important for us to finish on a good note.''

Jason Schmidt (4-2) struck out four of his first eight batters
but was outpitched by Chacon (8-2), who won his career-best fourth
straight start.

Schmidt, who entered 6-1 in 11 career appearances against the
Rockies, is 1-2 in his last six starts. His only win since April 30
came in a 6-0 shutout at Arizona on May 21. He had complete games
in his previous two starts.

The right-hander struck out nine and walked only one, allowing
seven hits in seven innings.

"I've gotten good run support. I can't complain here,'' he
said. "It's always frustrating when you lose.''

Chacon, coming off a combined shutout of the Los Angeles Dodgers
on May 28, gave up one run and six hits in seven innings, striking
out five and walking four. Jose Jimenez pitched a perfect ninth for
his 12th save in 13 chances, his first opportunity since May 15.

Norton hit his first homer of the season off Schmidt in the
first, driving an 0-1 pitch over the outstretched glove of Marquis
Grissom in center field for a solo shot.

"We have the same agent,'' said Norton, from nearby San
Leandro. "I like to be able to talk trash to my agent about one of
his pitchers.''

Barry Bonds tied it in the bottom half with an RBI single that
scored Rich Aurilia, who hit a two-out double.

Jose Hernandez hit his second double in the fourth to drive in a
run for Colorado, Norton scored on Preston Wilson's sacrifice fly
in the eighth and pinch-hitter Jay Payton added a two-out RBI
double in the ninth.

In the third, an odd passed ball allowed two runners to advance.
Chacon's pitch was never touched by catcher Bobby Estalella, but the ball bounced hard off plate umpire Ed Rapuano's mask.

Rapuano fell to his knees, and Giants trainer Stan Conte rushed
out to check on him. Rapuano remained in the game for two more
innings.

Mark Carlson moved behind the plate from first base in the
middle of the fifth and Rapuano headed into the umpire's room.
Conte said after the game Rapuano was not seriously hurt.

Chacon intentionally walked Bonds to load the bases, but Benito
Santiago lined out to end the third.

J.T. Snow got a lucky infield single in the fourth when a high
popup landed between four Colorado players behind the mound.

"J.T. thanked me for it,'' third baseman Norton said. "The
wind was pushing the ball toward right-center. I should have caught
it. I was close enough.''

Pacific Bell Park has been the place for crazy plays this
season. Monday marked the third game in three weeks featuring
something kooky.

Last week, Giants pinch-runner Ruben Rivera was thrown out at
the plate on a ridiculous baserunning blunder in the ninth inning
of a 13-inning win. He ran back and forth along the bases,
backtracking when he missed second, cutting across the infield
grass, then heading for home when he shouldn't have on a misplay at
third.

Two weeks ago, Montreal messed up on a run-scoring infield fly.
Catcher Michael Barrett and third baseman Fernando Tatis were
chatting with their backs to the plate as Neifi Perez came across
with the tying run. The play was ruled a fielder's choice.

Game notes
The couple from the most recent version of ABC's "The
Bachelor'' attended the game, sitting in the first deck along the
first-base line. ... Schmidt threw 114 pitches, 75 strikes. Chacon
threw 104 pitches, 61 strikes. ... No Giant had more than one hit.