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Reds rally falls short in last inning, 7-6

DENVER -- Coors Field, a graveyard for pitchers? Not for Denny Stark.

Stark continued his mastery of the hitter-friendly ballpark as the Colorado Rockies hung on to beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-6 Tuesday night.

In six starts at Coors this season, Stark is 5-0 with a 2.21 ERA. Stark (7-2) gave up his only run on Adam Dunn's homer in the sixth. He allowed just three hits in six innings of work.

''I just go out there and try to stay aggressive,'' Stark said. ''It's a tough place to pitch, and things can change very quickly. So you've really got to lock in and focus -- maybe a little more than at other places.

''I'm having a real good stretch now at home.''

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said Stark ''was outstanding. He's comfortable here, for whatever reason. I'd like him to share it with everybody else. He has had a lot more success here than the average bear.''

The Rockies' bullpen showed just how volatile Coors Field can be by giving up five runs in the ninth inning before Jose Jimenez got his 29th save in 32 chances.

Barry Larkin hit a two-run single in the ninth after Rick White walked three straight batters with one out.

Jimenez came in and, after striking out Jason LaRue, gave up a three-run homer to pinch-hitter Reggie Taylor before retiring Todd Walker.

Colorado newcomer Jay Payton had three hits and made a nice defensive play to rob Walker in the eighth inning.

''First impressions are important,'' Payton said. ''My first impression on the road was a pretty good one, and my first impression at home was a pretty good one. Hopefully, I can continue to do the same thing the rest of the year.''

Brent Butler hit a two-run triple in the sixth to chase Brian Moehler.

Sandy Alomar also doubled twice as the Rockies pounded out 15 hits, including six doubles and a club record-tying three triples.

Moehler (1-2), making his third appearance for the Reds after being acquired from Detroit, went 5 2-3 innings, allowing six runs on 13 hits.

The Rockies scored three runs in the sixth, building a 6-1 lead. Back-to-back triples by pinch-hitter Gabe Kapler and Terry Shumpert made it 7-1 in the seventh.

''It's tough to do all your scoring in one inning and expect to win games,'' Reds manager Bob Boone said. ''That kid (Stark) has had a pretty good year.

''We might have swung too big. I noticed their swings were real short. They got line drives, and this is a line drive-hitting park.''

Alomar doubled with one out in the second but was stranded when Moehler retired Jack Cust and Shumpert on groundouts. With two outs in the third, Payton doubled and Butler walked, but Larry Walker grounded out.

The Rockies went up 2-0 in the fourth on RBI doubles by Alomar and Cust. Todd Helton led off with an infield hit, and Alomar and Cust followed with their doubles, but Moehler retired the next three batters to strand them.

Payton led off the fifth with an infield single and went to third on Butler's bloop single. Payton scored on Walker's double-play grounder.

Dunn cut the deficit to 3-1 in the sixth with a two-out homer, his 23rd.

Butler's two-out triple came after Juan Uribe doubled and pinch-hitter Greg Norton hit a run-scoring bloop single in the sixth. Payton singled, and Butler tripled off the wall just inside the left field foul pole.

Stark worked out of trouble in the first. Walker led off with an infield single and advanced to third on a flyball and groundout. Dunn walked, but Stark retired Austin Kearns on a flyball.

Notes: The Reds placed RHP Elmer Dessens on the disabled list, retroactive to Aug. 2, with a strained right groin. RHP Joey Hamilton was activated from the DL and will take Dessens' spot in the rotation on Wednesday. … Reds 1B Sean Casey (left shoulder) will begin a two-day rehab assignment Wednesday with Triple-A Louisville. … The Rockies gave struggling CF Juan Pierre and 3B Todd Zeile the night off, although Pierre made a pinch-hit appearance in the eighth. … Larry Walker's 17-game hitting streak ended. … Alomar has had a multi-hit game in all four of his starts for the Rockies. He's hitting .600 (9 for 15). The Associated Press