<
>

Rockies sweep series against slipping D-Backs

9/22/2002

DENVER (AP) -- Three consecutive defeats -- coupled with three
victories in a row by San Francisco -- have the Arizona Diamondbacks
looking over their shoulders.

Todd Helton homered and drove in five runs as the Colorado
Rockies beat Arizona 11-7 Sunday to sweep a three-game series,
keeping the Diamondbacks' magic number for clinching the National League West at
three.

San Francisco's third consecutive victory, 3-1 over Milwaukee,
reduced Arizona's division lead to 4½ games.

Arizona's magic number for clinching at least a wild-card spot
remained at one after Los Angeles defeated San Diego 4-3.

''We need a win,'' Diamondbacks right-hander Miguel Batista
said.

Arizona reliever Mike Myers said he didn't sense any worry in
the Diamondbacks' clubhouse.

''One win could turn it around for us. As bad as we played in
this series, this could be the best thing that could happen to this
team,'' he said. ''We're still loose and having fun.''

First baseman Mark Grace insisted, ''We're fine. All we've got
to do is win a couple of games. Hopefully, we'll right the ship in
St. Louis and do some damage.''

The Diamondbacks begin a three-game series at NL Central
champion St. Louis on Monday, then play their final four games at
home against Colorado.

''Our magic number is three,'' Myers noted. ''That's not much,
and we've got seven games to do it.''

Manager Bob Brenly said his team ''didn't play well in any
aspect of the game in this series. But we'll be in St. Louis and
we'll get back after it again.

''All you can do is forget about this one and move on. In the
past, we've been pretty good about letting bad games or bad series
go and moving on, and we're going to have to do it again,'' he
said.

Jay Payton went 4-for-4 for the Rockies, including a club
record-tying three doubles, and scored a career-high four runs.

The Diamondbacks erased a 3-0 deficit with a six-run third
inning that included five doubles.

But Colorado countered in the sixth on Helton's 30th homer, a
three-run shot off reliever Greg Swindell (0-2).

Juan Pierre slapped a single to lead off the inning. Payton
doubled and, with one out, Helton homered for an 8-6 lead.

Arizona got a run in the eighth on a walk, single, wild pitch
and Junior Spivey's infield single.

Helton's run-scoring double highlighted the Rockies' three-run eighth.

Brian Fuentes (2-0) pitched two innings to earn a victory for the
second day in a row.

''Our bullpen reminds me of something I read in history class:
Never have so few given so much,'' Rockies manager Clint Hurdle
said. ''Our bullpen was really, really good the past three days.''

Colorado's Victor Santos had his second consecutive poor outing.
Eight days after giving up nine hits and six runs in 1 2/3 innings
of his only previous start for Colorado, Santos allowed seven hits
and six runs in 2 1/3 innings.

In the third, the Diamondbacks scored five runs off Santos
before he could record an out.

Quinton McCracken and Dave Dellucci started the inning with
doubles. Spivey singled and Steve Finley walked, loading the bases.
Erubiel Durazo lined a two-run double down the first-base line.
Matt Williams followed with a two-run double into the left-field
corner. With one out, Rod Barajas hit another double, chasing
Santos.

Payton's run-scoring double helped the Rockies cut the deficit to 6-5 in
the fourth. Pierre led off with a bunt single, and Payton doubled
to right-center. Payton scored on a groundout.

The Rockies manufactured a run in the first. Payton singled and
Helton walked. On Greg Norton's grounder up the middle, Spivey
couldn't get the ball out of his glove. As Payton rounded third and
started for home, the second baseman threw to third, and Payton
beat the relay to the plate.

In the Colorado second, Larry Walker hit a two-run double.

Arizona's Miguel Batista, who hasn't won in his last six starts,
went five innings, allowing 10 hits and five runs. He departed with
a 6-5 lead, but Swindell couldn't hold it.

Game notes
Arizona left-handed pitcher Brian Anderson, who broke a bone in his left
foot after being struck by Ben Petrick's liner Saturday, will
wear a boot and be sidelined at least four to six weeks, putting his
postseason in doubt. ... Santos, in his second major league plate
appearance, got his first hit. ... Walker reached 100 RBI for the
second consecutive season and fifth season in his career. ... The
Rockies drew 26,520 in their final home game of the season. Their
attendance for the year was 2,737,838, down for the sixth consecutive year and down 13 percent from the 3,159,385 of last season. ... After the
game, Rockies players and coaches made their traditional tour
around the perimeter of the field, tossing caps, jerseys and
T-shirts to the cheering fans.