DENVER -- Colorado revamped its lineup this season to take advantage of Coors Field. So far, it's been the pitchers that have carried the Rockies at the hitter-friendly park.
Shawn Chacon and two relievers combined on the 21st shutout in Coors Field history as the Rockies beat the San Diego Padres 8-0 Sunday to sweep the three-game series.
Colorado's pitchers have won five of their nine starts at Coors Field and the Rockies are 8-1 at a place where they use a humidor to counteract the effects of the ballpark.
The Rockies have won three straight overall after Aaron Cook came within one out of a complete-game shutout on Friday and Nelson Cruz allowed three runs on six hits in five innings the next day.
"There's always been this thing that you can't pitch at Coors Field," said Chacon, who struck out six. "Other pitchers come in here and pitch well here, so there is no reason why our staff can't do well here."
Chacon allowed four hits in seven innings and Brian Fuentes threw a perfect eighth, but then things got interesting.
Jose Jimenez, who blew a two-run lead on Wednesday, allowed a one-out single to Ryan Klesko and Xavier Nady followed with another single with two outs.
Jimenez walked Dave Hansen to load the bases, but left fielder Jay Payton made a sliding catch to seal Colorado's 12th shutout since Coors Field opened in 1995.
"One thing I've learned here from managing a short number of games is you take your heart out before the game, you put it in your locker and you put it back in after the game," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.
Chacon (3-0) has been sharp this year after being demoted the minors late last season. He has given up just three runs and 17 hits in 27 2/3 innings, and his 0.98 ERA is second in the National League to St. Louis' Woody Williams (0.00).
Chacon allowed just two hits in the first five innings against San Diego and struck out Sean Burroughs to end the sixth after the Padres loaded the bases.
"We ran into another well-pitched game," said Padres manager Bruce Bochy, whose team has lost five straight since taking two of three from Colorado last weekend. "He (Chacon) has been throwing well. He put together a good game today. You tip your hat."
San Diego starter Jake Peavy (3-1) showed just what can happen when a pitcher is even a little off at Coors.
Peavy had allowed five runs in his first three starts, but gave up six in the first four innings against Colorado.
Charles Johnson started things off with a two-run homer in the second that landed in the back row of the bleachers in left. Chris Stynes followed with a solo homer to left four pitches later, his third of the season.
Preston Wilson made it 4-0 with a single in the third, and Colorado got two more in the fourth on Ronnie Belliard's single and a sacrifice fly by Payton.
"I just made some bad pitches," said Peavy, who gave up six runs and six hits in six innings. "I let it get away from me in the early innings. It's not good to make bad pitches in this ballpark."
Payton made it 8-0 in the seventh with his fourth homer of the year, a two-run shot to left off Mike Matthews. He finished the series 7-for-12 with two homers and four RBI.
Johnson also led off the fourth with a double off the top of the wall in right-center, and is 5-for-8 since an 0-for-16 string last week.
Notes: The homers by Johnson and Stynes in the second inning were the first back-to-back by the Rockies this season. ... San Diego's Shane Victorino had his first hit in the majors, a single to right in the third inning. ... Colorado also took three games from Arizona April 4-6 in its first sweep this season. ... Mark Loretta reached on a fielder's choice in the sixth inning after Rockies RF Larry Walker lost the ball in the sun and still threw out Ramon Vazquez at second.
The Associated Press News Service
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