With his 417th career homer, Piazza reached the 20-home run mark
for the 12th time in 15 major league seasons.San Diego closed within one game of division-leading Los Angeles
and opened a two-game lead in the wild-card race over Philadelphia,
which was rained out. Florida dropped three games back.Meredith (4-1) pitched two scoreless innings and is one short of
San Diego's club record, set by Mark Davis in 1988. Meredith, a
sidearming righty, has not surrendered a run in his last 24
appearances.Manny Alexander had two RBI for San Diego, including a
run-scoring triple in the sixth that put the Padres ahead 4-3.
Alexander, who also had a sacrifice fly, then scored on a single by
Adrian Gonzalez.Pinch-hitter Vinny Castilla, who began the season as the Padres'
third baseman, had a run-scoring single in the eighth against Scott
Linebrink to cut San Diego's lead to one run.Trevor Hoffman pitched a perfect the ninth for his 37th save in
41 chances. With 473 in his career, he is five shy of matching Lee
Smith's record.Jeff Francis (11-11) gave up five runs on 10 hits in five-plus
innings as the Rockies lost for the 11th time in their last 12 road
games and dropped to 6-22 on the road since the All-Star break.Padres starter Chris Young allowed three runs and six hits in
five-plus innings with eight strikeouts.Garrett Atkins tied the score at 2 with a two-run homer in the
third. Brian Giles scored on Ben Johnson's infield out in the fifth
to give the Padres a 3-2 lead, but Colorado tied it in the sixth on
Yorvit Torrealba's leadoff homer.
The Rockies have hit seven homers in their last three games
after homering just five times in the previous 10 games. ... Piazza
established the major-league record for catchers by hitting 20 or
more homers in 10 consecutive seasons (1993-2002).