Jennings, Rockies pen combine to one-hit A's in shutout

DENVER (AP) -- Coors Field has given Colorado a home-field advantage since the day its doors opened in 1995.

Eleven years later, it's still giving the Rockies an edge, but now for a different reason.

"Everyone is talking about the ballpark again, it's just the other side of the coin," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "Anybody that has been around here a long time knows there were a lot of cheap home runs here. That's not the M.O. anymore."

That's for sure.

Jason Jennings and two relievers combined on a one-hitter -- the second-lowest hit total in Coors Field's 11-year existence -- and the Rockies beat the Oakland Athletics 6-0 on Tuesday night.

Coupled with a 7-0 win over the A's on Monday night, it marked the second back-to-back shutouts at Coors; five Rockies pitchers did it in consecutive games April 30 and May 1, 2002.

It was also the seventh overall shutout -- fourth by the Rockies -- at the hitter-friendly park this season. That's one more than the team record set in 1997 and tied for the most in the majors this season -- with 47 games still left on the schedule.

"I think there ought to be an investigation," A's manager Ken Macha said.

Jennings (6-6) overcame six walks in seven innings for his third straight win, teaming with Tom Martin and Brian Fuentes for the first one-hitter in Rockies' history.

It's also the third time there has been one hit or less at Coors Field, along with Hideo Nomo's no-hitter for the Dodgers on Sept. 17, 1996, and the one-hitter by Florida's Pat Rapp on Sept. 17, 1995.

And this one could have been a no-hitter had right fielder Brad Hawpe come up with a diving catch on Jason Kendall's bloop single to open the game.

But whether it's a one-hitter or a no-hitter, there's clearly something dramatically different about Coors Field this season -- and it might not have anything to do with the ball-drying humidor in the basement.

"Some people think it's the humidor, some people think it's just a different game," Jennings said. "On our staff we think we are just pitching better and that has something to do with it."

Jennings got off to a shaky start, allowing the game-opening single to Kendall and walks to Nick Swisher and Bobby Crosby to load the bases with two outs but got Dan Johnson to fly out to end the inning. Jennings didn't allow another hit after that and offset his six walks with six strikeouts to become the first Rockies pitcher to win three straight starts.

He got plenty of help from the offense.

JD Closser hit his second homer of the season, Cory Sullivan and Garrett Atkins each had two-run doubles and Colorado had 10 hits for its ninth win in 14 games.

That part's not surprising. The Rockies have been pounding out hits since their inaugural season. But to have consecutive shutouts for the third time in team history -- at San Diego in 2001 and at Coors in 2002 were the others -- that might cause a double-take from around the league.

"The park is turning the way where you can have two shutouts in a row," Hurdle said. "It's started in the second half of last season and, again, there aren't as many high-scoring games. It gives us a dimension now in which we feel confident here that we can put up zeros and manufacture runs. It all goes with the kind of ballclub we are building."

It hasn't helped the A's any.

Oakland came into the series with Colorado on a majors-best 10-game winning streak but has struggled at Coors, managing eight hits in two games.

The A's got a solid start out of Dan Haren in the first game of the series but couldn't get anything going at the plate to end the fifth-longest winning streak in team history.

Oakland didn't even get the pitching this time.

Starter Esteban Loaiza (2-4) was solid in his previous two starts, going 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA, but clearly didn't have his best stuff against the Rockies.

Colorado got a run in the first inning on Todd Helton's single and batted around against the right-hander in a five-run fourth, getting a solo homer from Closser and two-run doubles from Sullivan and Atkins to go up 6-0.

Loaiza was lifted after intentionally walking Brad Hawpe with

two outs, leaving after allowing six runs and nine hits -- the sixth time in 15 starts he's allowed five or more runs.

"I got some pitches up. They hit them," Loaiza said. "They are a free-swinging team. They just swing."Game notes
Oakland's Eric Chavez was 0-for-3, dropping him to 6-for-39 over the past 11 games. ... Colorado's Jamey Carroll is hitting .423 over the past 14 games after going 2-for-3 against the A's. ... Oakland's pinch-hitters were 0-for-2, stretching the A's hitless streak to 29 at-bats over spanning two seasons, including 0-for-19 this year.