Notes: Fuentes, wife adopt a newborn

Notes: Fuentes, wife adopt a newborn

ST. LOUIS -- The Astros' Craig Biggio didn't stand a chance against Rockies closer Brian Fuentes on Sunday. The third-strike pitch that ended Colorado's 5-3 victory at Coors Field had a higher purpose.

The slider landed in catcher Danny Ardoin's mitt originally, but it's ticketed for a crib at the Fuentes home in Merced, Calif. Last week, Fuentes and his wife, Barbara, last week completed the adoption of their first child, Giovanni Paolo Fuentes, born on Thursday. Fuentes was away from the club Thursday through Saturday to witness Giovanni's birth and finish the private procedure.

Fuentes entered with a runner on base and no outs in the ninth, and gave up a triple and a run, but he also forced a double-play grounder and struck out Biggio. He preserved Aaron Cook's win, but Giovanni gets the keepsake.

"I saved it for him," Fuentes said before Monday night's game against the Cardinals at the new Busch Stadium. "I didn't think I was going to pitch the way 'Cookie' was going, but they got me into the game and I was able to get out of it with no damage. It felt good to get back on the mound."

For the end of last week, Fuentes was happily far from the mound. He said he and his wife began making phone calls a year ago, and they followed up all the way to birth, when they were in the delivery room.

"I spent three days with him back in Merced," Fuentes said. "It was nice to just kind of hold him, watch him sleep and feed him. It was cool."

New look for Gonzalez: Luis Gonzalez, struggling at .221 and enduring a 1-for-13 slump, started at second base and batted seventh. Don't know if his approach is new, but his look is.

"He shaved his head," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We'll see if it works [Monday night]. If he had shown up with the same hairdo, we weren't going to play him."

After seeing Gonzalez post batting averages of .292 each of the last two seasons, Hurdle admitted that this year's struggles are puzzling.

"He could sit one day, five days, 30 minutes, whatever it was, [we could] play him in right, left, third, second, first -- it was like hitting the choke button," Hurdle said. "You know, the motor won't go, then, vroom. Now we're getting nothing but dust. But we're going to find it. There's too much talent in there and we're going to stay positive and keep working with him."

On the Rox: Catcher JD Closser, trying to regain prospect status after struggling while spending all of 2005 with the Rockies, earned Triple-A Pacific Coast League Batter of the Week honors on Monday. Closser batted .588 (10 for 17) with two home runs, three doubles and six RBIs for Colorado Springs. He raised his batting average 57 points to .345. ... Forget the television. First baseman Todd Helton was studying video all of his at-bats against Jason Marquis, the Cards' starter on Monday night, on an iPod unit that's quite impressive. Not only can he maneuver to receive all of his at-bats against a given team or pitcher, but thanks to video coordinator Mike Hamilton and the technology at his fingertips, Helton could watch any or all of his hits since 1998, his first full season.

Up next: The Rockies entered Monday night having won eight of their last 11 games, mainly due to strong starting pitching. However, just one starter, righty Josh Fogg (2-2, 5.18 ERA), had not won during the last two trips through the rotation. He'll attempt to change that on Tuesday night against Cardinals righty Chris Carpenter (3-2, 2.35 ERA).

Thomas Harding is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.