• Summary: The Rockies beat the Padres 4-2 to pull within three games of the NL wild-card leaders.
• Quotable: "We won a series we needed to win." Rockies manager Clint Hurdle
• Heroes: Garrett Atkins hit a two-run homer as part of a three-run first inning and Todd Helton had two of Colorado's four hits.
• Figure this: Helton is the first player in MLB history to have 35 doubles in 10 consecutive seasons.
• Quotable II: "I can't even fathom when you hang an accolade like that around a player -- the only one ever. I've always said you get to be great by being good for a long time. He's been really good for a long time." -- Hurdle on Helton
-- ESPN.com news services
Rockies 4, Padres 2
DENVER (AP) -- Individual accomplishments were about all the Colorado Rockies had to talk about this late in seasons past.Not this September. There's plenty more to discuss.Colorado beat San Diego 4-2 on Sunday to take two of three in the series and close within three games of the wild card-leading Padres. The Rockies are six behind first-place Arizona in the NL West,
while San Diego is three back."We won a series we needed to win," manager Clint Hurdle said.Garrett Atkins hit a two-run homer as part of a three-run first inning and Todd Helton had two of Colorado's four hits, including a milestone double that gave him 35 for the season.Helton is the first player in major league history to have 35 doubles in 10 consecutive seasons."I can't even fathom when you hang an accolade like that around a player -- the only one ever," Hurdle said. "I've always said you get to be great by being good for a long time. He's been really good for a long time."Helton was proud of the achievement, but it's not front and center in his mind."I'm more focused on going out to win games right now," he said. "It was a must-win game and we came out and answered the bell."The Rockies are treating every game like a playoff contest. That's why Hurdle turned the ball over to closer Manny Corpas with one out in the eighth and runners on first and third. Corpas got pinch-hitter Brian Myrow to ground into an inning-ending double play.Corpas then got three straight outs in the ninth for his 14th save in 16 opportunities. He is 14-for-14 since making his first appearance as a closer on July 7."You're going to get into some big spots and you want your big boys to pitch," Hurdle explained.Not to mention hit. Matt Holliday connected on his 26th home run in the eighth to give the Rockies some breathing room."If it helped Manny feel more relaxed, then it was big," Holliday said.Josh Fogg (9-9) got some help when two runners thrown out at the plate in the same inning."Those were like gifts," said Fogg, who went five innings, allowing one run and seven hits for his second straight win. "You don't expect them to happen."Morgan Ensberg was tagged out trying to score from first on a double to left by Michael Barrett in the fourth. Holliday relayed the ball to shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who fired a strike to catcher Chris Iannetta to get the sliding Ensberg."He's one of the best I've ever seen at relays," Holliday said of the rookie shortstop.Later in the inning, Barrett was tagged trying to score on Chris Young's single to center. Ryan Spilborghs threw a one-hop strike to Iannetta, who tagged Barrett on the backside when he didn't attempt to slide.After the game, Barrett admitted he should've hit the dirt."I made a baserunning mistake," he said. "I won't make the mistake again."Young (9-7) has been notoriously tough on the Rockies, giving up just one run over 15 innings coming into the game. But they got to him early, scoring three runs in the first inning.Young settled in after that, going five innings and allowing two hits. He also struck out eight but walked five."Normally, you don't lose games in the first inning," said Young, who hasn't won since July 19 against Philadelphia. "Today it happened."The Rockies have won seven of their last 10 games to remain in the playoff chase. The team hasn't made the postseason since their one and only appearance in 1995.Colorado is attempting to update its postseason resume. Of the Rockies' 20 remaining games, 17 are against teams still alive in the playoff chase."We feel confident that we can play with anybody," Tulowitzki said. "I think we're showing it."
It was only the second time at Coors Field the Rockies had four or fewer hits and won. The last time was a 4-1 win over Atlanta on Aug. 18, 1999, when the team had three hits. ... Adrian Gonzalez's 11-game hitting streak ended with an 0-for-4 afternoon for San Diego. ... Marcus Giles finished 2-for-3 with two walks in his first game off the disabled list. ... Colorado will be without OF Willy Taveras (strained right quad) and 2B Kaz Matsui (strained right hamstring) for an unknown amount of time. Both were injured on different plays in the eighth inning Saturday. "Kaz is down for a few days," Hurdle said. "Willy's out more than a few days."