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Castilla's two-run homer in ninth caps comeback

5/18/2004

DENVER (AP) -- Vinny Castilla knew there were plenty of
expectations when he took over for injured stars Preston Wilson and
Larry Walker in the middle of the Colorado Rockies lineup.

"When Larry and Preston went down, and I was going to hit
fourth, I had more responsibility, especially with the game on the
line," Castilla said. "I was prepared for that physically and
mentally."

Castilla proved that Monday when he hit a two-run homer in the
ninth inning, completing the Rockies' comeback from a six-run
deficit in their 7-6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

"He's been huge. He's been huge with the glove, he's been huge
with the bat, obviously," Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. "He
was a huge offseason acquisition for us."

Down 6-0 after three innings, the Rockies scored five times in
the seventh with homers by Matt Holliday and Charles Johnson.

In the ninth, Todd Helton drew a leadoff walk on four pitches
from Tim Worrell (0-1) and Castilla followed with his 10th homer, a
drive that barely cleared the left-field wall.

"The first pitch, I thought was a ball. After that, you have to
be able to swing at that pitch again," Castilla said of his third
career walkoff homer. "He put another pitch pretty close and I had
to put a good swing on it."

The home run was Castilla's 278th overall and 266th as a third
baseman, breaking a tie with Brooks Robinson for ninth place at the
position.

"I thought the ball stayed in, but then, I didn't get the ball
far enough in," Worrell said. "But you set yourself up when you
issue a four-pitch walk."

Castilla finished with three hits and three RBI. The Rockies
beat the Phillies by the same 7-6 score on Sunday.

Mike Lieberthal and Chase Utley each drove in three runs for the
Phillies, who went 7-3 on their road trip to Arizona, San Francisco
and Coors Field.

Brian Fuentes (1-0) got the win. He struck out three in the
ninth.

Lieberthal had three hits, including a home run. Utley hit a
bases-loaded triple.

The Phillies pounded Aaron Cook, called up before the game from
Triple-A Colorado Springs. He gave up six runs and 10 hits in six
innings.

Lieberthal hit a two-run homer in the second, and Philadelphia
scored four more in the third. Lieberthal's bad-hop single with two
outs drove in a run, David Bell walked to load the bases and Utley
tripled into the left-center field gap.

Randy Wolf blanked the Rockies until the seventh. Holliday
homered into the Colorado bullpen leading off the inning and Wolf
fanned Todd Greene for his eighth strikeout.

After a single by Kit Pellow that dropped in the outfield
between Marlon Byrd and Bobby Abreu, Rheal Cormier relieved.
Johnson connected for a pinch-hit homer and Helton and Castilla hit
RBI singles before reliever Ryan Madson ended the inning.

"Pellow's fly ball has to be caught," Phillies manager Larry
Bowa said. "If we make a play on the fly ball it's 6-1, two outs
and nobody on."

Pellow singled and Mark Sweeney walked against Madson with one
out in the eighth. Worrell came on and retired Denny Hocking and
Royce Clayton.

Game notes
Philadelphia has hit 22 home runs in its last 14 games. ...
Helton's string of 43 at-bats without a strikeout ended when he
fanned in the third inning. ... Colorado optioned pitcher Scott
Dohmann to Triple-A Colorado Springs to make room for Cook. ...
Castilla has a 12-game hitting streak.