Colorado 8, San Diego 0
SAN DIEGO (AP) _ Mike Hampton is proving to be everything the Colorado Rockies expected.
Among the most coveted free agents in the offseason, Hampton has provided a huge lift for the previously pitching-poor Rockies.
Hampton threw eight shutout innings, allowing only four hits in an 8-0 victory over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday night.
It was the second time in his four starts that Hampton (2-0) pitched at least eight shutout innings. The left-hander gave up five hits in 8 1-3 innings in Colorado's opening-day 8-0 win over St. Louis.
``Being realistic, you're not going to get that every time,'' Rockies manager Buddy Bell said. ``But with his temperament, the way he competes, his confidence and everything, he's going to do some special things.''
Hampton signed a $121 million, eight-year free agent contract and has done nothing to disappoint the Rockies, who won their fourth straight game.
``When he throws like that, he's awfully tough to beat,'' Colorado catcher Brett Mayne said.
Hampton was hardly pressed by San Diego after Damian Jackson's leadoff single in the first inning. Hampton set down 13 consecutive batters before a one-out double by Wiki Gonzalez in the fifth.
Hampton did not allow a runner to advance past second base as he struck out six and walked four. He was replaced by Kane Davis to start the ninth.
``He's tough,'' Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. ``I don't know if anyone was going to score against him tonight. He's one of the best pitchers in the game.''
Hampton was his usual modest self in discussing how he dominated San Diego.
``I wanted to establish the inside part of the plate,'' he said. ``I was able to do that and keep them off stride.''
The Padres touched Hampton for nine runs _ six earned _ on 11 hits in five innings on April 7 at Coors Field. Hampton came away with no-decision in the 14-10 loss, but he learned a valuable lesson.
``They got a lot of hits by going the opposite way,'' he said. ``This time, I was able to establish myself and take control.''
``I've seen him pitch a lot of good ball games,'' said Bubba Trammell, a teammate of Hampton's last season with the New York Mets. ``Tonight was one of those nights.''
The Rockies scored five runs in the third inning off Adam Eaton (2-1). Jeff Cirillo hit a two-run homer, Todd Hollandsworth had a two-run double and Mayne added a sacrifice fly.
Mayne also had an RBI single, and Larry Walker hit his eighth homer of the season, a solo shot in the sixth off Rodney Myers.
Eaton allowed six runs _ five earned _ on six hits in five innings
San Diego's Tony Gwynn recorded his 2,366th single in the sixth inning, tying him with Paul Molitor for eighth place on the career list.
Notes: LF Gant and CF Hollandsworth collided on Gonzalez's fly ball in the seventh. After staying on the ground for a few minutes, Gant left the game. A club spokesman said Gant was having precautionary X-rays on his left shoulder. ... The Rockies raised their road record to 3-2, the first time they've been above .500 on the road since April 4, 1999. ... The double by Gonzalez broke an 0-for-17 skid. ... CF Mike Darr was back in the Padres' lineup for the first time since he pulled a groin on Sunday.
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