<
>

Wilson puts down Padres with 9th-inning HR

4/13/2003

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- With Padres closer Trevor Hoffman out until after the All-Star break, the ninth inning isn't quite as intimidating for visitors at Qualcomm Stadium.

Preston Wilson homered leading off the ninth to lift the
Colorado Rockies over San Diego 3-2 on Saturday night.

Wilson hit a 2-0 fastball from Brandon Villafuerte (0-1) into the seats in left-center field for his second home run of the season.

Villafuerte, filling in while Hoffman recovers from shoulder
surgery, faced three batters and failed to get an out in the ninth.

"It's a whole different ballgame now,'' Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. "I've never managed a nine-inning ballgame'' in San Diego. "You pretty much played eight innings. The book will tell you what your chances are of winning.''

Hoffman has been practically automatic in his career, earning
352 saves for fifth on the career list. Even in his rare
appearances in a tie game, the Padres' chances of winning were
pretty good.

Wilson's homer was just what the Rockies needed.

"Tonight was one of those cases where both starting pitchers
did an outstanding job,'' he said. "Their guy threw well and kept
us off balance, and our guy kept us right there in the game.''

Wilson homered on a high fastball.

"I got behind against a good hitter, got a ball up and I paid
for it,'' Villafuerte said.

"I'm upset that it happened, but I know that there are a lot of
games left. I've just got to limit those times that it does
happen.''

After the homer, Jose Hernandez walked and Bobby Estalella singled to send Hernandez to third and chase Villafuerte.

Padres newcomer Matt Herges came on and loaded the bases with
two outs before getting Jay Payton to fly out to right.

Justin Speier (1-0) pitched two innings for the win and Jose Jimenez worked a perfect ninth for his third save in as many chances.

Colorado's Chris Stynes tied it at 2 in the seventh when he
doubled in Estalella to chase San Diego starter Adam Eaton.
Estalella walked with two outs.

Sean Burroughs gave the Padres a 2-1 lead with a two-run single
with two outs in the sixth. His hit, which scored Mark Kotsay and
Rondell White, chased Jason Jennings, the NL Rookie of the Year
last season.

Kotsay walked leading off the inning and went to third on
White's single to center. White advanced to second when Wilson, the
center fielder, made a poor throw to third trying to get Kotsay.
Burroughs got ahead of Jennings 3-0, took two strikes, fouled off
several pitches and then singled up the middle.

Jennings struck out six in 5 2/3 innings, his longest start of
the season. He allowed two runs, one earned, on five hits, and
walked four. Jennings was coming off an 8-3 win over Curt Schilling
and the Arizona Diamondbacks in which he went five innings.

Until Burroughs' hit, Jennings had held the Padres scoreless on
four hits.

Jennings gave the Rockies a 1-0 lead with his sacrifice fly in
the fifth inning. Hernandez hit a leadoff single, advanced to third
on Stynes' single and scored on Jennings' long fly ball in
left-field foul territory.

Eaton allowed two runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings, struck out
five and walked two.

Game notes
Larry Walker played his 1,000th game with the Rockies. Only Dante Bichette, who played in 1,018 games for the Rockies from 1993-1999, has more. ... Duane Espy, fired as San Diego's hitting
coach on the second-to-last day of the 2002 season, now has the
same job with the Rockies. ... Burroughs was back in the lineup
after missing three starts with a sore right shoulder.