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Zeile, Butler homer in Rockies' victory

9/16/2002

DENVER (AP) -- It didn't take the Los Angeles Dodgers long to
shrug off their disappointing performance against Colorado.

Not with a four-game series at home coming up against their main
competition in the NL wild-card race, the San Francisco Giants.

Todd Zeile hit a three-run homer and Brent Butler a two-run shot as the Rockies edged the Dodgers 5-4 Sunday.

The Rockies took three of four in the series from the Dodgers,
who remained one game behind San Francisco. Los Angeles has lost
seven of its last nine.

"This is no one else's fault,'' Dodgers catcher Paul Lo Duca
said. "We put ourselves in this situation. We felt we should have
won three of the four games here, and we only won once. We're just
going to have to beat the Giants.''

Shortstop Mark Grudzielanek said the Dodgers "definitely have
put ourselves in a little hole. But now we've got the Giants
head-to-head, so we have to take care of business.''

Manager Jim Tracy said the Dodgers "didn't beat ourselves. They
beat us. We can't dwell on that. It's over. If we had played really
poorly, it would be one thing. But we lost 5-4 on Friday and 5-4
today. What matters is the next four games.''

Rockies starter Denny Neagle departed in the third inning with
tightness in his left forearm. He is day to day.

His quick departure put added stress on an already overworked
Rockies bullpen. They responded admirably.

Justin Speier (5-0) earned the win with 2 1/3 scoreless innings
of relief. Jose Jimenez got six straight outs for his 40th save in
45 opportunities.

"That was awesome,'' Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.
"Bailing wire and duct tape. You guys can do the math. We were
taxed. We were stretched out as far as we could go. I still had
(Brian) Fuentes out there, but he threw 34 pitches yesterday. We
were playing with a hand grenade from the fourth inning on.

"Everybody who came into the game after Neagle left showed up
big-time.''

Speier thinks the Rockies are playing with the intensity of a
contending team.

"To take three of four from the Dodgers when they're
contending, that's a huge thing for us,'' he said.

Andy Ashby (9-12) went 4 1/3 innings, yielding seven hits and
five runs. Lo Duca and Marquis Grissom homered for the Dodgers.

Lo Duca hit a solo homer in the first, his ninth.

The Rockies countered with two runs in the second. One inning
after Rockies center fielder Juan Pierre lost a flyball in the sun
for a double, Dodgers center fielder Marquis Grissom also lost a
fly, allowing Zeile to reach second. Butler followed with his
eighth homer.

Each team loaded the bases in the third but failed to score.

Neagle got two outs in the third before issuing two walks and an
infield single. He then left the game, and Speier retired Eric Karros on a grounder.

With two outs in the Rockies' half, Ashby issued three straight
walks, but Zeile grounded out.

Zeile hit his 17th homer in the fifth, chasing Ashby. With one
out, Todd Helton walked, Larry Walker singled and Zeile homered to
the opposite field.

Los Angeles cut the deficit to 5-3 in the sixth on RBI singles
by Adrian Beltre and Mark Grudzielanek off Todd Jones.

Grissom led off the seventh with his 15th homer, making it 5-4.

Game notes
Since returning to the starting rotation on Aug. 3 after a
stint in the bullpen, Neagle has a 2.95 ERA. ... Ashby is winless
in his last four outings. ... The Dodgers dropped their third
straight series. ... The Rockies are 2-5-2 in four-game series this
year. ... Speier stranded all three inherited runners and has
stranded a major league-best 33 of 35 (.943) this season.