DENVER -- Aaron Cook and his sinker sunk the Padres in nine innings Wednesday afternoon, and all he needed was 74 pitches.

Cook (7-6) gave the Rockies a much-needed 10-2 victory and a series victory at Coors Field in front of 28,162. He also had three hits and a breezy approach on the mound after giving up two runs in the first inning.

"I just went out there and kept throwing strikes, and they kept swinging and put the ball in play," he said.

Cook's 74 pitches in nine innings tied the Twins' Carlos Silva, who did it in 2005, for the Major League record. The Elias Sports Bureau started tracking the stat in 2000.

After 13 pitches in the first, Cook threw single-digit pitches in seven of the next eight innings. He had 16 ground-ball outs. Of his 74 pitches, 55 went for strikes.

"I throw 19 balls in an inning sometimes," teammate Josh Fogg said. "He did it in nine."

Cook left his manager and teammates all with the same response: "I don't think I've ever seen that."

Well, Cook had -- from himself.

"I didn't know if I could do it in the big leagues," he said. "I did it once in the Minor Leagues."

Cook threw only 72 pitches for Class-A Asheville on Aug. 24, 1999, in Kannapolis, N.C. And that was pre-sinker.

Cook's sinker facilitated his efficiency against the Padres. He threw 70 percent sinkers Wednesday in his fifth quality start -- six or more innings, three or fewer earned runs -- in his last six.

"The sink is back," manager Clint Hurdle said. "His confidence is at a high. He just looks really good out there. It's just effortless power right now."

A fellow Rockie also showed effortless power. Matt Holliday broke out of a slump and tied a career high with four hits -- including a solo homer in the first -- two doubles and two RBIs. He entered the game hitting .221 in July. It was his first multi-hit game since July 4.

Ryan Spilborghs gave the Rockies a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning with a 452-foot leadoff homer to center off Justin Germano (6-5). Spilborghs had three RBIs and went 2-for-3. Garrett Atkins also had three RBIs and three singles.

Cook's economical outing

Right-handed pitcher Aaron Cook threw 74 pitches and posted a complete game Wednesday afternoon in the Rockies' 10-2 victory over the Padres. It was:

• Tied for the fewest in the Majors since the Elias Sports Bureau began tracking pitch counts in 2000. The Twins' Carlos Silva threw 74 in a nine-inning complete-game win over the Brewers on May 20, 2005.

• The fewest pitches in a nine-inning complete game in the Majors this season, besting the 91 that the Reds' Matt Belisle threw on April 28 against the Pirates.

• The fewest in a nine-inning complete game in Rockies history. Josh Fogg threw 91 while facing the minimum 27 batters in a 2-0 victory over the Mariners last June 30.

• The fewest in a complete game of any kind in club history. Those include weather-shortened games and the 88 that Darren Oliver threw during an eight-inning complete-game road loss against the Dodgers on Aug. 31, 2003.
• The record is believed to be held by the Boston Braves' Red Barrett, who threw 58 in a 2-0 win over the Reds on Aug. 10, 1944.

But the day belonged to Padre-killer Cook, whose eight victories over San Diego are his most against any opponent. He's had 10 straight quality starts against the Padres. In seven starts against them at Coors Field, he's 5-0 with a 2.01 ERA.

"When I sit down and go to the scouting report, it's not even like I'm reading it, because I already know my game plan against them," Cook said. "Once you face somebody that many times, they know you, you know them, so it's just a matter of making quality pitches when it counts."

Since the Rockies started their National League-best 33-23 run May 22, they've teetered five to six games back from the Padres and Dodgers -- the closest being June 21 when they were 3 1/2 back.

Thanks to Cook, the Rockies are 3 1/2 back of the second-place Padres and were five games back of the first-place Dodgers, who played Wednesday night. The Dodgers arrive Thursday night to open a four-game series with the Rockies.

Cook won't pitch against the Dodgers, but someone jokingly asked Hurdle on Wednesday afternoon if Cook would be available Thursday out of the bullpen.

The answer, of course, was no. Cook deserves a day off.