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Jennings allows just two runs on seven hits

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Colorado's Jason Jennings made a convincing
case for the Rookie of the Year award.

At least, San Diego's Phil Nevin thought so after Jennings
pitched a solid seven innings to help the Rockies break a nine-game
losing streak, beating the Padres 5-2 Monday night.

''He would be my choice,'' Nevin said. ''He was ahead of us, he
threw strikes and he used his defense. That is the name of the
game.''

Jennings (16-6) held the Padres in check and drove in two runs
as the Rockies ended their longest losing streak since July 2000
and avoided the first four-game sweep in club history.

''The kid needs to be applauded for the effort,'' Colorado
manager Clint Hurdle said. ''He's done everything we've asked of
him.''

Jennings, who moved to one victory of tying the club's season
record, has the most victories by a rookie since Cincinnati's Tom
Browning won 20 games in 1985.

Jennings was in control throughout the game, allowing only solo
homers to Ryan Klesko and Mark Kotsay. The right-hander allowed two
runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts.

Jose Jimenez pitched the ninth for his 35th save in 40 chances.

''I threw more sliders and changeups than fastballs,'' Jennings
said. ''They were sitting for (fastballs) early in the count, so I
was able to get ahead of them with the other stuff.''

Bobby Jones (7-8) took the defeat in his first game after coming
off the disabled list. Jones allowed five runs on seven hits in
four innings.

Jennings' two-run single capped a four-run second inning.
Jennings, who leads all major league pitchers with 10 RBI, went
1-for-3 to raise his average to .296.

''That was the product everyone is looking for every time you
play the game,'' Hurdle said. ''Good starting pitching, big hits
and play good defense.''

Todd Helton, who struck out four times Sunday for the first
time in his career, went 2-for-4 and hit a solo homer off Jones.

Helton is batting .640 (16-for-25) with five home runs and 13
RBI lifetime against Jones. The home run and RBI totals are the
most for Helton against any active pitcher.

''I was struggling with my control,'' Jones said. ''I was aware
of Helton, but I made a mistake. The ball ran back over the
plate.''

Klesko put the Padres ahead 1-0 in the first with his 25th home
run.

Helton tied the game in the second with a leadoff homer, his
25th. Jay Payton then tripled and scored on Greg Norton's groundout. After a single by Sandy Alomar Jr. and a walk to Jose Ortiz,
Jennings lined a single to center for two runs and a 4-1 lead.

Game notes
Jennings, who went 4-1 in seven starts last season, won his
20th career major league victory in his 35th career start to become
the fifth pitcher to accomplish the feat since 1976. ... Pedro
Astacio (1999) and Kevin Ritz (1996) hold the Rockies' record for
victories in a season with 17. ... Padres rookie Oliver Perez made his
first relief appearance after being activated from the 15-day
disabled list before the game. The 20-year-old Perez made 10 starts
before suffering a left shoulder strain when he slid headfirst into
first base Aug. 7 against Philadelphia.