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White Sox's Garcia strikes out 10 in victory

DENVER (AP) -- For one inning, pitching at Coors Field was every
bit as tough as Freddy Garcia always heard it was. For the next
seven, it was no trouble at all.

Garcia overcame a rough start to retire 22 straight Colorado
batters Monday night and lead the Chicago White Sox to a 9-3 rout
of the Rockies.

"My game plan was keep the ball down and throw a lot of sinkers
and changeups and that worked," Garcia said. "I just threw
strikes."

The game plan didn't work well in the first inning, though, when
Garcia (6-3) gave up a single, then hit Todd Helton with a pitch to
bring up Brad Hawpe with two outs. Hawpe sent a 3-1 pitch over the
center-field fence to put the Rockies up 3-2.

Turned out, that was the last baserunner Garcia allowed.

He walked none and had a season-high 10 strikeouts in eight
innings. Shingo Takatsu completed the two-hitter -- only the eighth
time two or fewer hits have been allowed at Coors Field since it
opened in 1995.

"I'm not going to say it's the best pitching I've seen in here,
but he got the job done," said Colorado's Preston Wilson, who went
0-for-4. "He made pitches when he needed to, and he kept us off
balance. We were swinging and missing a lot tonight."

Paul Konerko hit his 15th homer as Chicago improved its major
league-best record to 38-19 and snapped Colorado's season-high,
four-game winning streak. The Rockies fell to 19-37, worst in the
National League.

The loss came on a day in which Colorado learned it lost Clint
Barmes, the team's best rookie, for at least 12 weeks after Barmes
slipped and broke his collarbone while carrying groceries up his
apartment steps.

That news came around the time Colorado manager Clint Hurdle
went to the hospital to be with his 2-year-old daughter, Madison,
who was readmitted a few weeks after spending time there with
seizures.

"It was a tough day for us, but we are paid to go out there and
do a job," Todd Helton said. "We needed to do a better job
tonight."

Konerko hit a two-run homer in the first off Joe Kennedy (3-6),
whose ERA ballooned to 7.07. His spot on the roster now appears in
jeopardy after he was named the opening day starter.

With the game tied at 3, Chicago scored three runs in the fifth
-- on an RBI single by former Rockie Juan Uribe and a two-run double
by A.J. Pierzynski.

The White Sox chased Kennedy in the sixth when Jermaine Dye hit
a two-run double after bench coach Jamie Quirk, subbing for Hurdle,
chose to intentionally walk Konerko.

"It's one of those things where it's not lack of concentration
or mechanics, those are the easy excuses," Kennedy said. "I just
didn't get the job done."

Pierzynski, Dye and Uribe all finished with three hits for
Chicago.

Garcia, meanwhile, was in command through all but the first
inning. He threw 103 pitches, 67 of them strikes, and other than
Hawpe's homer, he didn't let the thin air or the aura of Coors
Field bother him.

It was just what the White Sox needed after a weekend in which
their bullpen threw 11 innings in three games against Cleveland,
and closer Dustin Hermanson pitched in all three games.

"When Freddy throws strikes he doesn't get himself in
trouble," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "When he keeps hitters off
balance he is going to be effective."

The only complaint about Garcia might have been a couple lame
efforts after he made contact during one of the few times he'll be
at bat this season: Twice after hitting the ball he didn't even run
down the first-base line and another time, he barely jogged.

His teammates ribbed him, though they couldn't have cared much
given his performance on the mound.

Game notes
The Rockies and White Sox had never met in the regular
season before. ... The White Sox recorded a season-high 15 hits and
reached double figures for the sixth time in seven games. ... Hawpe
made an assist from right field, giving him eight this season,
which leads the majors.