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Rox making West even more interesting

Rox making West even more interesting
SAN DIEGO (AP) - Garrett Atkins made sure the Colorado Rockies continued their latest late-season surge.

Atkins hit two home runs and drove in a season-high five RBI to lead the Colorado Rockies to a 9-4 win over the San Diego Padres on Friday night.


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The win allowed Colorado to stay six games behind first-place Arizona in the NL West with its 10th win 13 games. The Diamondbacks defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-3.

The Rockies have 26 games remaining and would like to fashion a run like last season when they won 14 of their final 15 regular-season games, including a one-game playoff against San Diego, to win the wild card berth and the NL title.

"We have had confidence in each other all year," Atkins said. "We've been playing good baseball, it seems like, for the better part of three months. It's frustrating we didn't play better the first two months."

Colorado has gone 25-15 since the All-Star break, tied with Houston for the third-best NL record in that stretch, to give itself a shot at the postseason.

Atkins hit a three-run homer to cap a four-run third inning that put the Rockies ahead for good in their ninth win in the last 11 road games.

"I'm just trying to get a ball that I can hit in the air," said Atkins. "He left it out over the plate and I got a pretty good swing on it."

Atkins then added his 18th homer of the season with a two-run shot off Brian Falkenborg in the ninth.

"This is a ballpark you usually don't (hit) a couple out there," said Rockies manager Clint Hurdle. "That last one was scalded. It's the last one that gets your attention."

It was Atkins' fifth career two-homer game and second this season. He came in having hit just one homer in August.

Aaron Cook (16-8) pitched six solid innings as he allowed two runs and five hits. It was the first time in five starts Cook pitched at least six innings. Cook, who has been battling a tight lower back, was 1-2 with 6.75 ERA in his last four starts.

Cook raised his career record against the Padres to 11-4, including a 9-2 mark with a 2.11 ERA in 13 starts since 2004. The right-hander has been tough in Petco Park, with a 5-1 record and an ERA of 1.69 in seven starts.

"I've been working hard to physically get back to where I need to be," Cook said. "Always when I come to San Diego, I feel better. You can get away with a few more mistakes then you can in other ballparks."

He also became just the fifth Rockies pitcher to win 16 games and the first right-hander since Jason Jennings in 2002.

The Padres had their three-game winning streak snapped.

Willie Taveras got the Rockies on the board with an RBI double in the third. After a walk to Matt Holliday, Atkins connected on a one-out, three-run homer off rookie Dirk Hayhurst (0-1) to give Colorado a 4-0 lead.

"I got into some situations where I didn't want to throw something good to hit, and I started to nibble," Hayhurst said. "Then, I had to make perfect pitches."

San Diego's Will Venable, making his major league debut, tripled to right-center field in his first at-bat and scored a few pitches later on Cook's wild pitch for a 1-0 lead in the second.

"It's good to see Will get his first big league knock off a very good pitcher," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "He looked good all day."

The Padres added another run in the third on Adrian Gonzalez's RBI single that scored Brian Giles, who led off with a walk and went to third on a one-out single by Kevin Kouzmanoff.

The Rockies scored three runs in the eight, two coming on pinch-hitter Seth Smith's double off Clay Hensley.

Hayhurst allowed four runs and five hits, throwing 101 pitches in only four innings. The right-hander walked four and struck out four in his second major league start.

Colorado is 18-7 against rookie starters this season.


Cook won his 10th road game to tie Arizona's Brandon Webb for the NL lead. ... Brian Fuentes was reinstated from the bereavement list on Friday after he missed two games. Fuentes pitched the ninth inning. ... Padres OF Jody Gerut was held out of the lineup due to a sprained finger suffered when he slid during San Diego's 5-4 win over Arizona on Wednesday. ... Colorado stole three bases, including two by Holliday, and took over the major league lead from Tampa Bay with 126. Holliday is 9-for-9 this season against the Padres and has been successful on all 17 career stolen base attempts against San Diego... Venable is the son of former major leaguer Max Venable, who was his son's hitting coach at Triple-A Portland.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: August 30, 2008

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