DENVER (AP) -- Felipe Alou leaned back in his office chair as a
bottle of unopened champagne sat on his desk.
The San Francisco manager had just won his 1,000th game during a
9-6 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Monday and the magnitude
was beginning to dawn on him."I know it's not big," Alou said. "There are managers with
2,000 wins. I didn't start managing until I was 57."To me, it's a small gift."The Giants gave him an even bigger gift when he entered the
clubhouse -- a brand new, top of the line rod and reel. The present
meant a lot to him. It's the same gift his minor-league players
gave him back in 1977 when he was managing at West Palm Beach."The reel (the Giants' players) gave me is very expensive,"
Alou said. "I don't know (the brand) and I don't want to
jeopardize my chances with those companies. I'm a fisherman, I may
need some stuff from them later."Alou, 71, made all the right moves Monday as the Giants
leapfrogged Colorado into second place in the NL West, a half-game
behind San Diego, which was idle Monday. Colorado is a game off the
lead.This has been as close to the division lead as San Francisco has
been since April 29.Alou is sixth among San Francisco managers with 309 wins. Dusty
Baker (1993-2002) had 840 wins for San Francisco from 1993-2002.
He's also eighth in victories among active managers. Alou didn't
break into the managerial ranks until 1992 with Montreal.The players brought baseballs up to him after the game."Skip, can you sign this?" infielder Mark Sweeney said.While there was champagne all around the locker room, there was
none on Alou. He was dry."At my age, I get sick if I get wet at this time of night,"
Alou said with a laugh."I dedicate this to my friends, family and my country."He should also dedicate it to Randy Winn, who drove in the
go-ahead run with a broken-bat double to center. The Giants scored
three runs in the eighth to take back a lead they'd had all
evening.The Giants had a 4-1 lead heading into the bottom of the
seventh, but couldn't hold it. The Rockies scored four times with
two outs. The big blow was a two-run homer by Todd Helton, his
ninth of the season.Jeremy Accardo (1-2) earned the win by retiring just one batter
in the seventh. He gave up three hits and two runs in the inning.
Armando Benitez got three outs for his eighth save in 12 chances.Ramon Ramirez (3-2) couldn't hold the lead for Colorado, either,
giving up two runs."I tried to throw hard and it didn't work," Ramirez said.Alou couldn't believe how rapidly the game went from a pitcher's
duel to an old-fashioned Coors Field slugfest. There were four
total runs scored through six innings and 11 over the next three."It was a really strange game," Alou said. "It seemed like
the air got lighter in the later innings."File this play in the bizarre category. With two outs in the
bottom of the eighth inning, left fielder Jason Ellison was camped
under a routine fly ball by Helton, and then dropped it. It allowed
Jamey Carroll to score and cut the score to 7-6."I never saw Ellison dropping the ball," Alou said. "I guess
Ellison didn't see it either."Ellison made up for the blunder in the ninth. He led off with a
double and scored on Pedro Feliz's two-run homer. It gave the
Giants some breathing room.After the game, the celebration got into full swing. There were
toasts to Alou and pictures snapped with players and coaches.Alou still can't believe he's in a manager in the majors.
Breaking in with the Giants as a player in 1959, he couldn't have
imagined he'd be leading the team one day."Back (then), I wasn't thinking about anything but going back
and doing some fishing when I was done playing," Alou said. "I
still have an urge to do that."He now has the rod and reel, too.
Colorado starter Aaron Cook has pitched at least six
innings in eight start starts. ... Starter Noah Lowry gave up five
hits and three runs in 6 2-3 innings. ... Winn extended his hitting
streak to 10 games. ... Omar Vizquel went 4-for-5, which is his
third four-hit game of the year. ... Helton has reached base safely
with a hit or walk in 33 straight games. It's two shy of Larry
Walker's team record.