Coors Field doesn’t bother Yoshii

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 13, 2000

The Associated Press

DENVER – Masato Yoshii took the mound at Coors Field for the first time in his career and didn’t blink.

Thursday, April 13, 2000

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DENVER – Masato Yoshii took the mound at Coors Field for the first time in his career and didn’t blink.

Surviving a rough first inning, Yoshii pitched six solid innings and helped his cause with a two-run single, leading the Colorado Rockies over the Cincinnati Reds 7-5 Wednesday.

”This was a huge win for us, our first series win of the year,” said Todd Helton, who had a two-run single. ”It gives us confidence going into the St. Louis series because they’re probably the hottest team in baseball.”

St. Louis begins a four-game visit to Coors Field on Thursday.

Yoshii’s two-out, two-run single in the fourth inning – on the first pitch he saw from Pete Harnisch – helped the Rockies take a 4-3 lead.

”I think it was a lucky one,” Yoshii said. ”Whenever I get a hit, I think it’s kind of lucky. I knew I had only one chance, so I was focusing on the first pitch. I hit the ball and it went in a really good place.”

Yoshii allowed three runs and six hits, walking two and striking out three as the Rockies won the series 2-1.

”At the beginning, the ball went a little high and they got some hits,” he said. ”I made a good adjustment in keeping the ball down, and I got my rhythm back as my number of pitches decreased. It was my first time pitching in Coors Field, and I was a little tired mentally and physically. Leaving after the sixth inning was a good time for me.”

Reliever Jose Jimenez (2-0) pitched one inning, and Julian Tavarez got the last two outs in the ninth for his first save and second of his career.

”Yoshii was pumped up for his first start here,” Rockies manager Buddy Bell said. ”The first inning took a lot out of him. He lost his legs a little bit. I think he was a little nervous, but he settled in and got a big hit. This guy competes.”

Ken Griffey Jr., who had homered in his three previous games, was 2-for-4 with a pair of singles, driving in a run for the eighth straight game.

”How many did we leave on base?” Reds manager Jack McKeon said, a reference to the nine runners they stranded. ”It seemed like 19. We had the bases loaded with one out in the ninth and couldn’t score (actually scoring one run). Their pitcher gets a two-out base hit. It was one of those days where we beat ourselves.”

With the score 4-4 in the seventh, Dennys Reyes (0-1) walked pinch-hitter Brian Hunter, who was sacrificed to second and scored on Mike Lansing’s single.

Larry Walker singled, Jeff Cirillo was walked by Scott Williamson and Helton followed with a two-run single for a 7-4 lead. Williamson then struck out Darren Bragg and Neifi Perez.

After Griffey singled off Mike Myers, loading the bases with one out in the ninth, Tavarez relieved and retired pinch-hitter Mark Lewis on an RBI fielder’s choice and Dmitri Young on a groundout.

Yoshii was roughed up for three runs in the first, allowing Griffey’s RBI single and Eddie Taubensee’s two-run single. Hal Morris then grounded into a double play.

Walker scored from second in the bottom half on Harnisch’s wild pitch. Taubensee, the catcher, thought the ball hit Todd Helton in the foot and didn’t chase it to the backstop.

Yoshii hit a two-out, two-run single in a three-run fourth that also included a run-scoring fielding error by shortstop Barry Larkin.

Larkin tied it with an RBI double off Jimenez in the seventh.

Notes: Helton has hit safely in all nine games this season. He also hit safely in his last 16 spring training games. … All six of Cirillo’s hits this season are doubles. … Yoshii also had a two-run single for the Mets against Philadelphia last Sept. 18. … Reds 2B Pokey Reese missed his second straight start because of a bruised left elbow, sustained when he was hit by a pitch on Monday. He pinch-ran in the ninth. … Neither team hit a homer, only the 18th time that has happened in Coors Field’s six-year history. … Cincinnati had two homer streaks come to an end. The Reds had homered in each of their first nine games of the season, and they also had hit at least two homers in each of their previous six games. … Harnisch, who didn’t get a decision, is 4-1 in eight career games at Coors Field. … The Rockies have recorded saves in all four of their wins this season.