<
>

Rockies rally, with help from two bases-loaded walks

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- John Foster got into a catcher's crouch next to
fellow reliever Leo Estrella's locker and held out a can of
Copenhagen.

"Right here, Leo. There's the strike zone right here," Foster
said.

Estrella didn't laugh, and he didn't argue.

He walked Jay Payton and Juan Uribe with the bases loaded in the
eighth inning Friday night, allowing the Colorado Rockies to rally
for an 8-6 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Estrella and manager Ned Yost both disagreed with umpire Mark
Carlson's calls on the four-pitch walk to Payton, and both were
ejected for letting him know how they felt -- but not until Uribe
had also walked.

Estrella (2-1), who had allowed pinch-hitter Greg Norton to tie
the game with a homer leading off the eighth, said he felt his
first three pitches to Payton should have been called strikes.

One was away, one was knee-high and one went right across the
letters.

"At least give me one pitch," Estrella said.

Yost said he didn't want to publicly criticize Carlson because
he hadn't seen the recording. But he noted that there were 409
pitches made in the nearly four-hour game.

"Anytime you have 400-something pitches, something's not
right," Yost said.

Brewers catcher Eddie Perez suggested the Questec system was the
blame.

He said umpires are changing the strike zones to match the
machine, which is being used at 13 of the 30 major league ballparks
this year to rate performances.

"I don't want to say what I want to say," Perez began. "It's
not his fault. It's the freaking computer. It's somebody else's
fault. They know they have to be careful.

"Every time we go to a place that doesn't have the computer, we
know there'll be strike calls," Perez said. "I know I'll be fined
tomorrow, but at least I didn't go out and hit it with a bat."

Arizona ace Curt Schilling was fined last month for destroying a
Questec camera during a loss in Phoenix to San Diego on May 24.

Carlson had left Miller Park by the time the Brewers made their
complaints to reporters.

The Rockies didn't know who was to blame for the Brewers'
eighth-inning meltdown, but Norton said he didn't think his homer
rattled Estrella.

"I think our batters just had some good eyes, took some close
pitches," he said. "We got the calls and a couple of hits. We
were patient and came back and got a good victory."

Estrella's failure to hold a 6-5 lead cost 30-year-old reliever
Brooks Kieschnick what would have been his first major league
victory.

Kieschnick, who spent parts of four seasons as an outfielder in
the majors before converting to a relief pitcher this spring,
pitched 1 2-3 innings of scoreless relief and also singled in his
only at-bat to raise his batting average to .333 (14-for-42).

He stood to get the win until Norton got his franchise-best
fifth consecutive pinch hit, his second pinch homer. He also had
one June 20 at Detroit.

Then, with the bases loaded and one out, left fielder Geoff
Jenkins made a spectacular diving catch near the line to rob Larry
Walker of a hit.

Luis Vizcaino replaced Estrella, who was ejected along with Yost
as they separately exchanged words with Carlson as they left the
field.

Estrella allowed three runs on two hits and four walks in
two-thirds of an inning.

Steve Reed (5-1) threw 1 1-3 innings of scoreless relief. and
Justin Speier pitched the ninth for his third save in five chances.

Milwaukee had taken a 6-5 lead on Royce Clayton's solo homer off
Jose Jimenez in the fifth.

The first inning lasted 37 minutes and ended with Milwaukee
ahead 4-3 thanks to John Vander Wal's fourth career grand slam, his
second this season.

He took Aaron Cook deep for his ninth homer, erasing a 3-0 lead
the Rockies had built when Preston Wilson hit a two-run double off
Dave Burba and scored on Payton's single.

Wilson hit his 19th homer in a two-run fifth that tied the game
at 5.

Dave Burba allowed three runs on four hits and four walks in his
second start since being promoted from Triple-A Indianapolis. Cook
gave up five runs -- four earned -- eight hits and three walks over
four innings in his first start since being recalled from Triple-A
Colorado Springs.

Game notes
Rockies 3B Chris Stynes left in the second with a bruised
left triceps. He was hit by a pitch his first time up and is day to
day. He was replaced by Mark Bellhorn, who got three hits. ...
Colorado hadn't won on July Fourth since the second game of a
double header at Wrigley Field in 1994. ... Podsednik extended his
hitting streak to a team-best nine games.