- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 1, 2015

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - After 21 years in the majors, Colorado reliever LaTroy Hawkins isn’t trying to trick anyone with pitch sequences.

The 42-year-old doesn’t have to worry about deception when he’s still able to reach 95 mph with his fastball.

Hawkins retired all three batters he faced for his first save since April, and the Rockies got another strong outing from starter Jorge De La Rosa while beating the Oakland Athletics 2-1 Tuesday night for their first interleague win of the season.

“He’s a freak of nature,” Colorado manager Walt Weiss said of Hawkins. “He did a nice job for us in that closer’s role last year. This year it’s been a little different role for him but he can still step in there and run it up there in the mid-90s (mph).”

Hawkins, who earned his second save this season and the 126th of his career, was needed to close after John Axford was placed on the family medical emergency list.

Because there’s no timetable for Axford’s return, Hawkins could stay in the closer role for a while.

“I just go out there and try to throw strikes. That’s it,” Hawkins said. “If you’re going to beat me, you’re going to beat me swinging a stick. I’m not going to walk you. I’m going to throw you a fastball, I’m going to throw you a slider. I just need my command to be on point.”

Charlie Blackmon singled to break a scoreless tie in the fifth. Nolan Arenado singled in the fourth to extend his major league-leading hitting streak to a career-high 17 games.

Troy Tulowitzki also singled and has hit in 14 straight for the Rockies, who snapped a three-game skid.

Colorado had been 0-7 in interleague games this season and had lost 14 straight in American League ballparks before De La Rosa and two relievers combined on a six-hitter.

“Every win is important. Every win is gold,” Weiss said. “Our last few games have been tough, but we like being able to hand the ball to Jorge when we’re in a tough run. It was a big win.”

The A’s were without ace Sonny Gray, scratched from his scheduled start before the game because of illness.

De La Rosa (5-3) gave up four hits and struck out four with four walks in his first appearance against the A’s since 2009. The left-hander needs one strikeout to reach 1,000 for his career.

The Rockies needed a big effort on the mound after struggling early against Oakland replacement starter Chris Bassitt.

Called up from the minors before the game, Bassitt (0-1) retired his first 10 batters and didn’t allow a baserunner until Tulowitzki flared a single to left that landed just in front of a charging Mark Canha.

Colorado broke through when Blackmon’s two-out single in the fifth drove in Ben Paulsen.

Bassitt gave up five hits and one run in five innings. He struck out three and didn’t walk a batter.

“I don’t know that we could ask for much more,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He threw strikes, got outs, mixed his pitches, and used different velocities with his two-seamer and four-seamer.”

Wilin Rosario singled and scored on a wild pitch by Fernando Rodriguez in the seventh.

De La Rosa made it stand up after pitching out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the sixth. He also benefited from Colorado’s defense, which turned two double plays.

Ben Zobrist had two hits and scored Oakland’s run in the eighth on Billy Butler’s two-out single off reliever Tommy Kahnle.

HEADED HOME

Axford left the Rockies to take care of a family situation. The team was quick to point out it’s not related to the serious snakebite that harmed his 2-year-old son in spring training. “He’s got some things to take care of at home. He’s got some personal things to address,” Weiss said. “His son is doing fine. I know that’s what people are probably thinking. His son is doing fine, getting better and better every day. But it’s been a challenging year for him. He’s got to go home and take care of some things.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rockies: RHP Christian Bergman was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. … LHP Yohan Flande and RHP Justin Miller were called up from Triple-A Albuquerque.

Athletics: INF Max Muncy was optioned to Triple-A Nashville to make room for Bassitt on the roster. Muncy was batting .203 with two homers and six RBIs in 34 games with Oakland. … RF Josh Reddick is “a little banged up,” according to Melvin, and was held out of the starting lineup. Reddick is expected to play Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Rockies: RHP Chad Bettis (4-2) has won his past two starts and will be making his first career appearance against Oakland in the series finale Wednesday.

Athletics: RHP Jesse Hahn (5-6) has a 2.54 ERA over his last seven starts.

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