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Owings masterful in Arizona's 8-1 thrashing of Colorado
Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Micah Owings delivers a pitch to Colorado Rockies batter Troy Tulowitzki in the first inning of a Major League Baseball game in Denver on Friday, April 4, 2008.

DENVER — The Colorado Rockies looked great in their home opener — but only on the giant video screen.

Arizona right-hander, and Gainesville High graduate Micah Owings (1-0) struck out a career-best nine batters and allowed just one run and two hits over 6 Ã splendid innings in the Diamondbacks’ 8-1 win over struggling Colorado.

The Rockies celebrated their NL championship Friday with a pregame jubilee of fireworks, fly-bys and flashbacks, then played nothing like the charmed team that won its first pennant six months ago. Colorado left-hander Mark Redman (0-1), who had so many clutch performances for Colorado in September — the Rockies went 5-0 with him on the mound — allowed five runs, four of them earned, and nine hits in 5 Ã innings.

Redman labored through a 35-pitch first inning in which he walked the leadoff hitter and surrendered an RBI single to Chris Snyder and a two-run double to Reynolds.

That’s all Owings needed.

"I felt good today about my command and felt good all around," said Owings, who had scuffled throughout spring training.

"I felt good about my guys behind me and the offense put up that 3-spot behind me and that helped a lot."

After Willy Taveras doubled leading off the first, Owings retired 17 straight batters before walking Taveras with two outs in the sixth.

Matt Holliday went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts, tying a career high. After winning the NL batting title last year, Holliday is mired in a 1-for-14 slump in 2008. Troy Tulowitzki, who led major league shortstops in fielding percentage, bobbled two groundballs, one of which resulted in an error, his second of the season, the other nearly costing Colorado a run.

"I just didn’t get some good hops on some balls, misread them, misplayed them, and my throws were bad," said Tulowitzki, who was saved from further embarrassment when Todd Helton scooped several of his throws out of the dirt.

Chad Qualls and Juan Cruz completed the two-hitter, and Mark Reynolds homered, doubled and drove in three runs for the Diamondbacks, who watched the Rockies celebrate a sweep of the NL championship series the last time they were in town.

"We respect what they did last year," Reynolds said. "At the same time it’s over with and we forgot about it that night. It’s a new season."

And gone on this day were the clutch hits, the great glove work, the sweet sounds of the barrel meeting the ball for the Rockies at sold-out but oh-so-quiet Coors Field, where a record regular season paid crowd of 49,233 watched the D-Backs’ domination.

"We didn’t give the fans too much to cheer about," Helton said with a shrug.

After Willy Taveras doubled leading off the first, Owings retired 17 straight batters before walking Taveras with two outs in the sixth.

Unlike their remarkable run to the World Series, when Colorado seemingly could do no wrong, very little has gone right in 2008 for the Rockies, who have lost three of their first four games while scoring a total of just six runs and going 3-for-27 with runners in scoring position.

In the second, Taveras saved Redman from another bad inning by making a Willie Mays-type catch of Orlando Hudson’s drive over his head in center field with runners at first and second.

Hudson, however, would later drive in two runs with a single in the sixth and a double in the eighth as the D-Backs scored single runs in each of the last five innings, battering what was baseball’s best bullpen a yaer ago.

Justin Upton, who had Arizona’s only hit Thursday, homered in the seventh. Helton led off the bottom half with a home run for Colorado’s second hit off Owings, who was replaced by Qualls after issuing his second walk two outs later. Cruz pitched the ninth.

"It’s a lot easier to face someone when the person in front of you got a hit. You’re thinking you can get one yourself," Tulowitzki said. "When guys are coming back to the dugout striking out, it wears on the other guys, too."

Pregame ceremonies included video clips of the Rockies’ remarkable 21-1 to the World Series last year, including their sweep of the Diamondbacks in the NLCS, capped when Helton scooped the final out and thrust his arms to the heavens in triumph.

On this day, they were throwing their helmets, bats and gloves in frustration.

"Obviously, it’s not the start we’d like to have," Tulowitzki said. "But last year we started slow and nobody thought we could do the things we did."

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