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Cook exceeds expectations, teammates

Cook surprises all with stellar outing

DENVER -- Aaron Cook defied logic and a Red Sox lineup that had made his fellow Rockies starters take cover early.

Cook lasted six-plus innings Sunday night in the Rockies' 4-3 loss to the Red Sox, who completed a World Series sweep. He was the first Rockies starter to last more than five innings in the World Series, which he did in his first outing since Aug. 10.

"I felt like I did a pretty good job for being off for 10 months -- or 10 weeks," Cook said. "Ten months would have been even more impressive."

It's tough to think Cook could have been any more impressive in his six-plus innings of work. He made Rockies manager Clint Hurdle look like a genius for deciding to put him on the World Series roster and start him in Game 4 despite his long layoff because of a strained oblique muscle. He showed little evidence of his time off.

"You're probably going to be a little rusty, so you never know how you're going to be," fellow starter Ubaldo Jimenez said. "He was out for two months and to come out in the World Series and do the job he did, he's one of a kind to do that."

Cook said his World Series jitters were quickly wiped away once he started getting loose and he felt prepared after starting the Rockies Opening Day game in April.

It showed, as Cook commanded the strike zone and never panicked. Cook yielded three runs, forced 13 ground-ball outs and walked none, but did have two mistakes that cost him, leaving two balls up to Mike Lowell. Lowell doubled in the fifth and eventually scored on a Jason Varitek single, and then knocked Cook out of the game with a leadoff homer in the seventh.

"I went out there and was able to still command my sinker," Cook said. "I got a couple of them up and those were the runs that they scored, but other than that I felt really good."

The Rockies starting pitching was one of their downfalls in the World Series. After posting a 2.43 ERA through the first two rounds of the playoffs, Rockies starters gave up 14 runs in 11 1/3 innings in the first three games against the Red Sox. Jimenez's 4 2/3 innings had been the furthest a Rockies starter had pitched in the World Series.

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Although Cook took the loss and left the game with the Rockies trailing 3-0, he at least gave the Rockies a chance to win.

As he walked off the field to a standing ovation, he tipped his cap to the Rockies fans and his teammates tipped their caps to him.

"It almost made us mad watching how easy pitching is to him," Game 1 starter Jeff Francis said. "He was having a blast out there, you could tell. He threw out more than what we expected and it's just a shame we couldn't put it together all at the same time."

C.J. Moore is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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