Rockies, Padres Win, Move Up In National League West
Thursday, September 27th 2007, 8:24 am
By: News On 6
When Colorado's offense had a rare quiet night Josh Fogg stepped up. And with a 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, the Rockies found themselves in unfamiliar territory.
Fourteen games over .500. Winners of 10 straight. Not only in the thick of a wild-card race, but the NL West division chase as well.
The first two have never happened before for the Rockies. The last one hasn't occurred since 1995, when the Rockies finished a game behind the Dodgers and settled for the wild card.
``The goal we set coming out of spring training was to win the division,'' Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. ``We've never turned our back on that. ... There's an urgency to play well, that's all they're doing. They're playing to win. They're having a blast.''
The Arizona Diamondbacks lost their second straight in Pittsburgh, falling 5-1 to the Pirates in a game they could scarcely afford to lose.
The San Diego Padres, whom the Rockies swept this past weekend, beat the San Francisco Giants 11-3 behind Jake Peavy. The wild card-leading Padres are now one game behind Arizona.
In other NL games, it was: Washington 9, New York 6; Philadelphia 5, Atlanta 2; Florida 7, Chicago 4; St. Louis 7, Milwaukee 3; and Houston 7, Cincinnati 6.
The Rockies won despite being held hitless by Derek Lowe (12-14) and two relievers after the third inning, when they scored the game's only two runs.
Fogg (10-9) walked three and struck out five for his first victory over the Dodgers since Aug. 6, 2002, when he was with Pittsburgh.
``We're embracing it and having fun,'' Fogg said. ``For the most part, this team came up together. Every game's important right now. The way we've been playing, you want to go out there and continue the roll.''
On Barry Bonds' final home game in San Francisco, Peavy made sure the Padres got the win they badly needed.
Peavy (19-6) got Bonds to ground out weakly in his first two at-bats and to fly out to the warning track in right-center to end the sixth _ and that was it for the home run king in his final game as a Giant in the club's waterfront ballpark. Bonds stopped at the mound for a hug and handshake from Peavy as he made his exit.
``He said, 'I love you.' I said it back,'' Peavy said. ``That would be the only instance it would be OK to give up a home run. What a thrill, from 20 to 26 years old, and I see his team five times a year. This is going to be a very different feeling coming here without Bonds.''
Khalil Greene and Josh Bard hit back-to-back two-run singles in the fifth inning, when San Diego got seven base hits and chased Giants starter Pat Misch (0-4). Bard and Geoff Blum had consecutive RBI doubles in the second.
``At the start of the game there was a little different energy because of Barry's farewell,'' said Padres manager Bud Black, a former teammate of the slugger. ``But our guys know our goal.''
In Pittsburgh, Adam LaRoche drove in three runs with a pair of doubles and Matt Morris pitched effectively over seven innings as the Pirates beat Arizona.
The Diamondbacks, in position when the series started to clinch the division before going to Colorado to finish the season, have dropped three in a row since winning five of six.
``It definitely puts some pressure on us, but you can't push the panic button _ we're still in a good spot,'' Conor Jackson said. ``We need to come out and play like we have the last two months. This is kind of uncharacteristic for our ballclub, but we're going to bounce back. We've got four games to do some damage.''
Thursday, they'll have staff ace Brandon Webb (17-10), last year's NL Cy Young Award winner, going against the Pirates' John Van Benschoten (0-6, 9.73 ERA), whose only major league win came in 2004.
``If you're sitting in spring training saying that, going into last four, we're in this position, we're going to take it,'' manager Bob Melvin said. ``We've had a couple of losses here, but one win will cure it.''
Nationals 9, Mets 6
At New York, the Mets blew a five-run lead lost again to Washington, cutting their lead over Philadelphia in the NL East to one game.
New York wasted two homers by Carlos Beltran and another from Moises Alou.
Ryan Church homered and drove in four runs for the Nationals, who completed a three-game sweep at Shea Stadium and improved to 5-1 against the Mets over a 10-day span.
Phillies 5, Braves 2
At Philadelphia, Kyle Lohse pitched seven strong innings and the Phillies improved their playoff hopes, drawing within a game of the Mets in the NL East.
Lohse (9-12) allowed two runs and six hits, striking out five and becoming the first Phillies starter to go seven innings since Jamie Moyer on Sept. 14.
The loss all but eliminated Atlanta from postseason contention. The Braves have to win their last four games and get a lot of help to pass Colorado, Philadelphia and San Diego.
Marlins 7, Cubs 4
At Miami, Chicago lost for the second straight night to last-place Florida but its magic number for clinching the NL Central remained at four.
A two-out RBI single in the fifth inning by backup catcher Matt Treanor put the Marlins ahead to stay. Miguel Cabrera added a two-run homer, his 34th.
Florida beat Chicago for the ninth game in a row over the past two seasons. That tied for the longest active streak between two major league teams.
Cardinals 7, Brewers 3
At Milwaukee, the Brewers wasted a chance to cut their NL Central deficit to one game, giving up a first-inning home run to Albert Pujols.
Pujols' 32nd homer gave him 100 RBIs for the seventh straight season.
Ryan Braun's two-run double put Milwaukee ahead in the second, but St. Louis went ahead to stay in the third when Ryan Ludwick doubled off Carlos Villanueva (8-5) following an intentional walk to Pujols.
Astros 7, Reds 6
At Cincinnati, Lance Berkman hit two of Houston's four home runs and Luke Scott drove in the winning run in the eighth with a single.
Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee also homered as Houston sent the Reds to their fourth consecutive loss.