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Rockies earn second win in past nine games

7/4/2002

DENVER (AP) -- As a former hitting coach, Colorado Rockies
manager Clint Hurdle is naturally inclined to work with players on
their hitting.

Not with Larry Walker. Hurdle just sits back and watches him.

Walker and Bobby Estallela homered and drove in four runs each
as the Colorado Rockies beat the San Francisco Giants 14-4 to avoid
a sweep Wednesday night.

Walker was 4-for-5, including a three-run homer in Colorado's
seven-run second inning, to tie his career high for hits for the
second time in four games. He also made a basket catch with his
glove practically resting on his hip in the fifth.

"We're just riding the big boy right now offensively,'' Hurdle
said. "He's able to slow the game down. He's just so talented.
He's a pleasure to watch play the game.''

Colorado won for just the second time in nine games to keep the
Giants from getting their first three-game sweep at Coors Field.

San Francisco lost for the third time in eight games and dropped
to 3-6 against Colorado this season.

"Once they started rolling, there was no stopping them,''
Giants manager Dusty Baker said. "We certainly didn't want to use
our pitching up tonight before we go to Arizona. I was hoping we'd
get out of this one.''

Colorado scored seven runs in the second off Livan Hernandez
(6-10), which came one night after the Giants scored eight in the
first in an 18-5 victory.

Juan Uribe, Brent Butler and Todd Zeile each had run-scoring
singles, and Estalella knocked in another with a sacrifice fly.

Walker had the big blow, a three-run homer to right, his 20th of
the season and ninth in 16 games. It's the third time this season
Walker has homered in three straight games.

"I'm just seeing the ball well,'' Walker said. "I'm looking
for pitches right now and I'm getting them, so it's just a little
bit of everything blending in together.''

Colorado starter Jason Jennings (9-4) avoided the first
three-game losing streak of his career by allowing four runs and
eight hits in six innings. He improved to 6-1 at home this season.

"I think especially with the last few games I've had there are
some signs of getting it back,'' said Jennings, who won for the
first time since his seven-game winning streak ended June 18
against the Yankees.

"I struggled a little bit tonight, but not as much as the
previous games and I was able to battle through it.''

Hernandez's latest outing was the continuation of a trend. He
allowed seven runs and eight hits in a career-low 1 2/3 innings to
become the first Giants pitcher to lose 10 games before the
All-Star break.

Hernandez has lost his last four starts and is 1-6 in his last
seven. He is 2-10 since opening the season 4-0.

"I don't know what to do about him. I need time to think about
it,'' Giants manager Dusty Baker said. "I have to talk with Livan
because he has to turn it around. I don't know what is wrong. We
have to figure something out.''

Yorvit Torrealba made it 7-4 in the fourth with a three-run
homer that barely cleared the wall in left. It was his second of
the season.

Todd Helton put the Rockies up 8-4 in the seventh on a double
that Barry Bonds couldn't cut off in left, and Estalella followed
with a two-run homer to center. It was Estalella's eighth of the
season, but first since June 10.

Walker and Estalella also drove in runs in Colorado's four-run
eighth.

"It was good to go out and score seven runs in the last two
innings, just go ahead and stretch it out a little bit on their
bullpen,'' Hurdle said. "Nothing for the hitters beats
confidence.''

San Francisco's J.T. Snow, making his first start in five games
with a sprained left big toe, had a run-scoring single in the first
for his 699th career RBI.

Game notes
San Francisco 2B Jeff Kent, who is 15-for-28 since moving
to the third spot in the lineup, was given the night off. Bonds was
1-for-4 in the third spot after going 4-for-19 hitting cleanup. ...
The Rockies are off Thursday, the first time they will not play on
the Fourth of July. ... Colorado has placed a decal on their
bullpen wall that has "D.K.'' and the No. 57 in honor of former
pitcher Darryl Kile, who died June 22. ... Walker last homered in
three straight games from June 14-16 against Cleveland. ... San
Francisco's only three-game sweep in Denver was from July 30-Aug.
1, 1993, at Mile High Stadium.