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Rockies crumble against Twins

Minnesota Twins designated hitter Kendrys Morales hits a two-run RBI double in the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver on Saturday. The Twins won 9-3. Ron Chenoy / USA Today Sports

DENVER — Kevin Correia again pitched well enough to win Saturday — and this time he did.

Correia ended a losing streak that spanned three starts in the Minnesota Twins’ 9-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

The Twins had been shut out in his past two outings and three times in his past six starts. Correia (5-11) pitched six innings, the seventh straight start he has gone at least that far, and is 3-4 through that stretch with a 2.30 ERA.

“I’ve always said I’m going out there trying to get a win,” Correia said. “I’d rather go out there and give up more runs and get a win than go out there and pitch great and get a loss.”

Correia doubled home a run with two outs in the fourth inning to give the Twins a 4-0 lead. The hit produced the final run allowed by Rockies starter Tyler Matzek, who also went six innings. He needed 30 pitches to get through the first inning when the Twins jumped to a 2-0 lead.

Second baseman Brian Dozier opened the game with a double, lining a ball off Matzek’s left leg. Matzek then fielded shortstop Eduardo Escobar’s grounder and with Dozier well off the base, threw low to second, allowing Dozier to move to third. Both runners scored on first baseman Kendry Morales’ double.

Matzek gave up a homer to Escobar to open the third before left fielder Josh Willingham and Correia doubled in the fourth.

“I thought after the first inning it was a very solid outing,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “He gave us six innings. They got two early. He settled in and gave us some length and put us into position, but the game got away from us late.”

Center fielder Charlie Blackmon, who went 5-for-5, was thrown out at the plate to end the third inning with the Twins leading by three runs. With runners on first and second, Justin Morneau hit a ball that Dozier backhanded at second base and, much to Twins manager Ron Gardenhire’s disbelief, let fly toward the plate.

“When he let it go, I honestly     didn’t know where he was throwing the ball,” Gardenhire said.

Knowing that Morneau, his former teammate, runs well and runs every ball out, Dozier realized he had only one play.

“It took me a bunch of steps to my right, so I knew if I tried to plant and throw to first, I wouldn’t have (Morneau),” Dozier said. “I knew Blackmon was pretty much going all the way (from second) because he probably thought it was a single (to the outfield), so I had to throw on the run. It just happened to be a decent throw.”

After calling Blackmon out, crew chief and home plate umpire Angel Hernandez called a review to see if catcher Eric Fryer had blocked the plate without possession of the ball in violation of Rule 7.13. The call was upheld.

The veteran Correia, who turns 34 next month, improved to 3-3 with a 3.35 ERA in 16 games and six starts at Coors Field. He made his major league debut there on July 10, 2013, in a relief outing for the San Francisco Giants.

“I think the way I pitch kind of helps me (at Coors Field),” Correia said. “I don’t throw a lot of big breaking balls ... It kind of plays into the way I throw the ball. I have a lot of experience here, and I think that helps a lot.”

The Twins broke the game open with three runs in the eighth inning. Pinch-hitter Chris Parmalee delivered a bases-loaded, two-run single. The first-pitch hit came against Chad Bettis, who had relieved Matzek and loaded the bases on a single and two walks.

The Twins scored two more runs in the ninth off Matt Belisle before the Rockies countered with two in their half of the ninth.

The teams finish play today before the All-Star break Monday. For the Twins, that means the end of a road trip that began in Seattle and has seen them win four of six games.

Minnesota will play its 20th game in 20 days today with Phil Hughes, who is 9-5 with a 3.70 ERA and has been their best starter this season, on the mound.

“We got to go out and swing the bats and give him a chance to get another win,” Gardenhire said. “He’s pitched very well for us, and we always feel good when he’s on the mound.”

  • Rockies RF Carlos Gonzalez batted second for the first time this season. In his other starts, he had batted third 31 times, fourth on 19 occasions and fifth once. He made 21 previous career starts batting second, including two last season.
  • Twins LF Josh Willingham batted sixth for the first time this season after batting third five times, fourth 27 times and fifth 11 times. This was Willingham’s 62nd career start batting sixth, including seven times last year.
  • Rockies LHP Jorge De La Rosa improved to 41-14 at Coors Field with his win Friday night. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only two other active pitchers had more wins in their first 55 decisions in a current major league stadium: Tim Hudson 42-13 at O.Co. Coliseum in Oakland and Max Scherzer 42-13 at Comerica Park in Detroit.