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Not down and out after rout

By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / October 25, 2007

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The Colorado Rockies came in with a swagger, this free-swinging wild-card bunch from the Mile High City who wore T-shirts that read, "Baseball with an Altitude," after winning 21 of their last 22 games to sweep their way to the National League pennant and the first World Series berth in franchise history.

The fact they would face Red Sox ace Josh Beckett in Game 1 didn't seem to faze them in the least.

After all, the Rockies had pinned Beckett with his first loss after nine straight victories in a June 14 contest at Fenway Park.

Beckett was hit - and hit hard - in allowing six runs on 10 hits in five innings. He gave up three doubles, a grand slam to Garrett Atkins with no outs in the third inning, and a two-out solo homer to Matt Holliday in the fourth.

Last night, though, Beckett did not allow the Rockies to have such an easy time.

He threw seven masterful innings and allowed just one run on six hits while striking out nine. The lone run came in the second inning, on Troy Tulowitzki's RBI double to left.

"You know, he's maybe the Cy Young winner, and he's obviously [undefeated] in the postseason, but you can't expect to get that type of results every time," said Ryan Spilborghs, the Rockies' designated hitter who went 0 for 2 with a walk out of the No. 9 position. "We knew we were going to come in here and grind out at-bats.

"Obviously, that game [in June] he wasn't hitting his spots and he was falling behind us. Tonight, he was ahead on the count, so when you're a good pitcher with those many types of pitches he can throw to get you out, it's going to be difficult, no matter what."

Todd Helton, the Rockies' first baseman, was one of the few Colorado batters to have success against Beckett, going 2 for 4 with one of four doubles the Sox ace allowed last night (including two to Tulowitzki).

"He's got great stuff," Helton said of Beckett. "A guy like him, you got to get your swings in, because he's got stuff to put you away.

"He's a good pitcher, a smart pitcher with good stuff, and he pitched well tonight. I'm not sure what the final score was, but I'm sure we were pretty rusty. They played really good. You just got to tip your cap to them because they put a good old-fashioned beatin' on us tonight.

"But we've been beat worse than that this year," Helton added, referring to a 12-0 shellacking against the Houston Astros July 1. "But we put it all in perspective and we'll go out and regroup tomorrow. It's what we've done all year."

No big deal.

"It's one loss," Spilborghs said. "If one loss was going to bury us, we wouldn't be in this situation at all. We're still super confident. We know we've won 21 out of the last 23, so nothing's changed. We still think that we're good and we still support each other. A loss is a loss and, obviously, it's not the end of the world, like Manny says.

"We're going to come back tomorrow, rested up, and get ready to play. Obviously, it's the World Series and we got to put up a stand and that's what our guys are used to doing."

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