Colorado Rockies Inside Pitch: 4/7/07

The Colorado Rockies have gotten off to a 2-1 start, thanks to some great pitching from newcomer Jason Hirsh. Hirsh outdueled future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux on Friday night, giving the Rockies some real hope for the 2007 season. Here is a look inside everything Rockies.

Rockies right-hander Jason Hirsh is ready for the big leagues this time. His six-week introduction with Houston last year allowed him to get the jitters out of the way.

Hirsh wasn't intimidated by the sellout crowd at San Diego's home opener on Friday, or by being matched up with future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux. He impressively went about his job in a 4-3 Rockies victory.

He made his big-league debut for Houston a year ago against the Padres and lasted only four innings, giving up three consecutive home runs at one point. He allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings Friday.

"It's the evolution of a player," Hirsh said. "Last year I was a wide-eyed rookie, thinking, 'Oh my God.' Now I can get down to business and be the pitcher people want me to be."

Hirsh worked his way efficiently through the Padres lineup before finally giving way to Manny Corpas with two outs and runners on first and third in the seventh with a 4-1 lead.

"He was pitching with a little edge on him," manager Clint Hurdle said. "There has been a lot of talk (about the trade). All he wanted to do was get an opportunity to go out and pitch."

Hirsh did give up a game-tying home run to Termel Sledge in the fifth, but that was the only Padres batter he even allowed to get past first base until Greene doubled with one out in the seventh.

"I wasn't facing Maddux," Hirsh said. "I was facing their lineup. Still, it's great to pitch against Maddux and get a win."

Last Game:ROCKIES 4, PADRES 3: Kaz Matsui provided a spark to the Rockies offense Friday. He tripled home the Rockies' first run in the third inning, then ignited a three-run sixth off Greg Maddux. Matsui led off with an infield single, stole second, took third on a Garrett Atkins flyball to right and scored on a wild pitch. Matt Holliday eventually hit an 0-2 pitch for a two-run home run.

Jason Hirsh allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings, striking out a career-best eight batters to earn a victory in his Rockies debut.

NOTES, QUOTES:

  • Manager Clint Hurdle is sixth in tenure with his current team among the big-league managers. He ranks behind Bobby Cox, who has been managing Atlanta since 1990; Joe Torre, who has been managing the Yankees since 1996; Tony La Russa, who has been managing St. Louis since 1996; Mike Scioscia, who has been managing the Angels since 2000; and Ron Gardenhire, who took over Minnesota at the start of 2002. Hurdle became manager of the Rockies on April 26, 2002. "That is an elite group," Hurdle said. "We need to start putting a resume together with the marks those teams have had, making the playoffs, winning records. They have a little more pop to their resumes. That's the plan here."

  • OF Alexis Gomez cleared waivers and finally accepted an assignment to Class AAA Colorado Springs. With uncertainty about the health of CF Johnny Damon, the Yankees had expressed some interest in Gomez, but they decided to go another direction.

  • The Rockies' nine-game road trip that began in San Diego on Friday is the longest first trip of the season in franchise history. The Rockies play 21 of their first 34 games on the road.

  • RHP Josh Fogg, who starts Saturday in San Diego, received 6.44 runs per game of support last year, second highest among NL pitchers behind Steve Trachsel (6.61) of the Mets. Fogg has won 10 or more games in four of last five years.

  • The Rockies are 15-14 at Petco Park, the only visiting team with a winning record.
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