Aaron Cook made a strong case for a possible spot on the All-Star roster as the manager of the National League squad watched with delight.
Cook tossed a five-hitter for the first shutout of his career, and the Colorado Rockies ended an eight-game losing streak with a 4-0 victory over the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night.
With two weeks left before the All-Star game, Cook (11-5) acknowledged he is thinking about being part of it.
''(The media) brings it up a lot, so it's hard not to think about,'' he said. ''I know I've got two starts left before the All-Star break. I can't sit on what I've done this year; I've got to keep moving forward.''
He has the advantage of playing for Clint Hurdle, the manager of the NL team this year. Hurdle has watched Cook account for one-third of his team's wins this season and go 7-3 in starts following a Colorado loss.
''I very rarely lobby for a player, but I'm going to make a call to the manager,'' Hurdle joked. ''I would think he's got the attention of the league. There's been some hiccup games, but overall if you look at the volume of work he's put out in the first half, that's very impressive.''
Cook struck out four and needed 79 pitches and 1 hour, 58 minutes for his second complete game of the season and eighth of his career. He didn't allow a runner past first base and faced just three batters over the minimum. On July 25, 2007, he needed 74 pitches in a 10-2 complete game win over the Padres.
''I've faced them a lot, they know I like to pitch ahead so they try to get a good first pitch to swing at,'' he said. ''It was one of those nights when I was keeping it off the barrel and guys were making plays behind me.''
Cook, who also had a hit, received a resounding cheer from the 26,221 fans at Coors Field as he came to bat in the eighth.
Cook improved to 10-3 against San Diego. Since 2004, he is 8-1 with a 1.52 ERA in 11 starts against the Padres. He didn't allow more than two runs in any of those starts.
''Historically he has been good against the Padres,'' San Diego manager Bud Black said. ''We saw him good here last year. Similar results.''
He kept the Padres off-balance.
''At no time in the game did he let down,'' San Diego catcher Michael Barrett said. ''He was relentless in the strike zone.''
Josh Banks (2-3) went five innings and allowed four runs for the Padres, who have lost 13 of 15.
Colorado got all the runs they needed in the fifth. Troy Tulowitzki led off with a double, went to third on Cook's sacrifice and scored on Willy Taveras' single to right. After Todd Helton and Matt Holliday walked to loaded the bases, shortstop Khalil Greene threw wide to first on Brad Hawpe's potential double play ball, allowing Helton and Taveras to score. Hawpe then stole second and scored on Garrett Atkins' single to right to make it 4-0.
The Rockies threatened in the third when they loaded the bases with two outs, but Hawpe looked at a called strike three.
Cook followed that missed opportunity with a five-pitch inning.
''It was an unbelievable performance,'' Tulowitzki said. ''Cookie's been our best pitcher all year, and what better guy to get us out of our funk.'' ^Notes:@ Black said RHP Chris Young (nasal surgery) could start throwing off the mound next week with the hope of getting him back at the end of July. ... Taveras left the game in the sixth with soreness in his left thigh. He is day-to-day. ... Tuesday's game was the shortest nine-inning game in Coors Field history. ... Cook's complete game shutout was the 16th ever at Coors Field. ... It was the fourth time this season that Cook has won to snap a Rockies' losing streak of at least three games.
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