<
>

Payton singles, drives in winning run

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Jay Payton's clutch hit came a few innings too
late to get Brian Lawrence what would have been a well-earned win.

Payton hit an RBI single past the glove of diving second baseman
Aaron Miles with two outs in the 10th inning and the San Diego
Padres beat Colorado 2-1 Wednesday to avoid being swept in
consecutive home series.

Lawrence, San Diego's top starter, used his sinker to hold the
Rockies to one run and five hits in 7 1-3 innings, buying the
Padres some time before their struggling offense finally did
something.

Although he was on track to join Roger Clemens as the only
eight-game winners in the NL, Lawrence wasn't disappointed at not
getting the decision.

"It's only a matter of time before these guys really turn it on
and everything starts clicking," Lawrence said. "They're way too
good to be held down like this day after day. We're not going to
worry about it."

Closer Trevor Hoffman (1-0) struck out two in pitching a perfect
10th.

The Padres, who were outscored 14-2 in two straight losses to
the Rockies, started their winning rally when Brian Fuentes (1-2)
grazed leadoff batter Sean Burroughs with a 2-2 pitch.

Burroughs advanced on Mark Loretta's sacrifice and Brian Giles'
groundout before scoring on Payton's hit into right field off
Vladimir Nunez, who came in during a double-switch after cleanup
hitter Phil Nevin was intentionally walked.

Nunez hadn't pitched in three days.

"You have to make pitches at this level," Rockies manager
Clint Hurdle said. "You have to get outs at this level. He
didn't."

Payton played for the Rockies last year.

"Clint does those things over there, probably a little
strategy, thinking I might get a little too fired up and try to do
too much," Payton said. "He had a reason and a plan for what he
did, but fortunately I was able to get the hit.

"I've been feeling good at the plate. I just didn't want to do
too much, just let the ball get deep and try to put good wood on
it."

Lawrence's teammates gave him just a 1-0 lead through six
innings despite having three great scoring opportunities.

Lawrence made way for Akinori Otsuka with the score tied at 1
after allowing Charles Johnson's double with one out in the eighth.
It was Johnson's sixth double of the series, and he was stranded as
Otsuka retired the next two batters.

Lawrence allowed a run only after Royce Clayton's fly ball fell
in just fair along the right-field line for a double leading off
the seventh. Clayton eventually tied the game on Vinny Castilla's
sacrifice fly.

One start after striking out a career-high 10 in a win at
Milwaukee, Lawrence struck out one and walked none. He got 17
groundball outs and faced just two over the minimum through seven.

"I didn't have my fabulous slider today like I did last game,
but I was able to throw my sinker 95 percent of the time and get
ground balls," Lawrence said. "I moved it in and out and keep it
down, and got my defense working for me."

The Padres were swept at Petco Park by the Chicago Cubs May
14-16, then went 7-5 on their longest road trip of the season. They
returned home only to lose two straight to the Rockies.

"I think the boys were tired," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It
took a clutch hit, which is sometimes hard when guys are pressing a
little bit."

But the pitching was in good shape.

"We were sitting pretty good because of Lawrence's effort
getting us deep in the game," Bochy said.

Otsuka had another big outing, with four strikeouts in 1 2-3
innings. After allowing Miles' leadoff single in the ninth, Otsuka
struck out the side.

The Padres went ahead 1-0 in the sixth after loading the bases
for the second time against Shawn Estes. Phil Nevin hit a leadoff
double, Payton walked and Xavier Nady reached on a throwing error
by third baseman Vinny Castilla. Ramon Hernandez hit into a double
play, bringing in Nevin.

Nady, recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A Portland, fell
right into the offensive rut that's been plaguing his teammates in
their new downtown ballpark.

Nady struck out with the bases loaded to end the first inning,
then grounded weakly to second to end the third with runners on
first and third.

Game notes
Burroughs extended his hitting streak to 14 games. ...
Payton extended his hitting streak to 11 games. ... Giles hit into
three of the Padres' four double plays. ... This was the first of
just two midweek day games at Petco Park this season. The Padres
cut back on midweek day games because of concerns about parking and
traffic.