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Oliver starting to win road games for Rockies

7/6/2003

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Todd Helton keeps making sure Milwaukee's grand
slams don't mean all that much.

Helton drove in four runs with a triple and a home run in
Colorado's 9-8 victory Saturday night over the Brewers, who got
back into the game with a grand slam from Geoff Jenkins in the
seventh inning.

Helton had two hits and scored twice in Colorado's 8-6 comeback
win the night before, when the Rockies negated John Vander Wal's
grand slam.

"I don't think I've ever been with a team where the other team
hits grand slams in the first two games and we win both games,"
Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.

The Rockies got six solid innings from Darren Oliver (6-5), who
allowed three runs on five hits for his second straight win on the
road after beginning 0-5 in his first eight starts away from Coors
Field.

Oliver, who hadn't won three straight decisions in more than two
years, entrusted his bullpen with an 8-3 lead, but Jenkins took
Nelson Cruz deep for his second career grand slam in the seventh to
make it 8-7.

Colorado's Jay Payton homered in the ninth off Shane Nance for a
valuable insurance run because Eric Young's solo shot off Brian
Fuentes in the bottom half cut it to 9-8.

But Fuentes struck out three in the inning, including Jenkins to
end it, for his second save.

"We kept adding on," Helton said. "That was the big thing.
Payton's home run obviously was the big hit."

And for the second straight night, the Brewers couldn't
celebrate a bases-loaded home run for very long.

"Grand slams are nice, but we've been playing catch-up for most
of the game," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "That gets us back
in it, but we've got to nail it down. We can't be giving up any
more runs.

"We've got to just find a way to keep the ball in the park. The
home runs are killing us right now."

Charles Johnson also homered for the Rockies, who have gone deep
five times in the first two games of the series at Miller Park,
where 138 home runs have been hit, tops in the major leagues.

Oliver recovered from a shaky second inning in which he walked
light-hitting catcher Keith Osik and starting pitcher Matt Ford
with the bases full. That tied the game at 2, erasing the lead
Helton gave him with a two-run triple in the first inning.

Johnson's two-run homer off Ford (0-1) came in the fourth. His
11th homer made it 4-2. Payton added a two-run single in the fifth
and Helton hit a two-run shot off John Foster in the sixth for his
15th home run and an 8-2 lead.

Wes Helms' 14th homer in the bottom of the inning made it 8-3.

In the seventh, Javier Lopez gave up a single and two walks,
bringing on Cruz, who allowed Jenkins' 20th homer before getting
Richie Sexson and Brady Clark looking at strike three.

Helton, needing a double for the cycle, struck out against Nance
in the eighth. Helms, needing a triple for the cycle, struck out
against Justin Speier in the bottom of the inning.

Ford, a rookie making his second career start in the major
leagues, allowed six runs -- five earned -- on eight hits and two
walks in 4 2-3 innings. His worst pitch was the one Johnson hit 420
feet.

"I made a horrible pitch," he said. "It was right down the
middle. I was trying to throw a slider low and away. At this level,
if you make a pitch like that, you're going to pay for it."

Game notes
Rockies RF Larry Walker went 1-for-5 and is one hit shy of
tying Dante Bichette's club record of 1,278. ... Jenkins also hit a
grand slam May 31, 2002, at San Diego. ... Jenkins actually went
4-for-5 Friday night following an official scoring change of a play
that originally was ruled an error on first baseman Helton. Jenkins
was credited with an RBI and starter Aaron Cook was charged with a
fifth earned run. ... Yost has a theory about all the home runs
that have been hit at Miller Park: it's one of 13 ballparks that is
using the Questec umpire rating system, which has shrunk the strike
zone, Yost said. "You're basically narrowing that pitcher down to
have to throw the ball right down the middle of the plate to get
that ball called a strike," he said. "And in major league
baseball, if you do that, you're going to get killed." ... Young
extended his hitting streak to 14 games, a season high for Brewers
hitters.