DENVER—Neither the hitter-friendly dimensions of Coors Field nor a tender left hamstring bothered Freddy Garcia.
Garcia provided the White Sox with one of the most impressive performances of the season by pitching eight innings of two-hit ball Monday night to preserve a taxed bullpen in a 9-3 interleague victory over Colorado.
American League team at Coors.
After giving up a three-run home run to Brad Hawpe in the first inning, Garcia retired the next 22 batters.
"I threw a lot of sinkers and changeups, and that worked," said Garcia, who struck out a season-high 10 and didn't allow a walk. "I didn't think about what happened in the past."
Garcia was aided by a season-high 15-hit attack that allowed reliever Shingo Takatsu to pitch for the first time since May 29.
Takatsu worked a scoreless ninth as the Sox posted the first two-hitter by a visiting team at Coors Field since the Cubs' Carlos Zambrano beat the Rockies 11-0 on May 7, 2004.
The Sox had plenty of concerns entering Monday's game. Five relievers had pitched 52/3 innings in Sunday's 12-inning loss to Cleveland. That included closer Dustin Hermanson, who had worked in four consecutive games.
Also, Garcia was pulled in the sixth inning of his last start because he aggravated his hamstring last Tuesday against the Angels.
The Sox were so concerned, Jon Garland was available if Garcia couldn't pitch or if they needed a long reliever.
"[The relievers] needed a rest," Garcia said. "I don't think about how long to go."In beating the Rockies, Garcia (6-3) improved his interleague record to 14-6 and interleague ERA to 2.20. He also improved his road record this season to 5-1.
Garcia said his hamstring didn't bother him, thanks to treatments by the Sox's trainers.
Paul Konerko staked Garcia to a 2-0 lead in the first with his 15th home run, but the Sox pleased manager Ozzie Guillen with their ability to chip away with hits instead trying to take advantage of the thin air by swinging for home runs.
A.J. Pierzynski hit a two-run double during a three-run fifth that started after two outs, and Jermaine Dye hit a two-run, two-out double in the sixth that knocked out Rockies starter Joe Kennedy.
"This ballpark is a little dangerous," Guillen said. "When you come here, you try to change your game. You try to hit home runs, pitchers try to throw nasty pitches, and that's how you get in trouble."
The Rockies (19-37) suffered a double dose of bad news before Monday's game. They learned rookie shortstop sensation Clint Barmes will be lost for at least three months because of a fractured left collarbone suffered Sunday night.
Barmes was batting .329 with eight home runs and 34 RBIs in 54 games. He suffered the injury falling backward while carrying groceries up a flight of stairs to his apartment.
In addition, Rockies manager Clint Hurdle left the team to attend to his 2-year-old daughter Madison, who suffers from Prader-Willi Syndrome, a genetic disorder.
"We had a little bit of our hearts taken out of us for a couple reasons," interim manager Jamie Quirk said. "But more than that, we had a lot of Freddy Garcia taken out of our heart."