Ojeda's first career homer powers Padres to win


SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Miguel Ojeda has a nice new addition for his
trophy case back home in Sonora, Mexico -- his first major league
home run ball.

The rookie hit a three-run homer in the third inning, then
singled in the tying run in the seventh as the San Diego Padres
beat the Colorado Rockies 7-6 in a sloppy game Wednesday night.

"It's a great feeling," Ojeda said, clutching the ball that
the Padres retrieved from a fan in the left-field seats. "I'd say
I was struggling for a few games and I finally put everything
together. A big home run to go ahead in the game. I can't explain

"Over everything, I'm excited because we won the game, and the
way we won it."

San Diego snapped the Rockies' four-game winning streak and
denied what would have been their first road sweep in more than two
years. San Diego avoided a sweep for the fifth time in its last
seven series by winning the final game.

The Padres scored four unearned runs in the third inning, thanks
to three Rockies errors, to take a 5-1 lead. Their bullpen then
allowed four runs -- two unearned -- in the seventh to let the
Rockies go ahead 6-5.

San Diego started its winning rally with three straight one-out
singles off reliever Todd Jones (1-4) in the seventh, including
Ojeda's single up the middle to bring in Sean Burroughs with the
tying run. Donaldo Mendez then hit a fly ball to the warning track
in left to score Xavier Nady and make it 7-6.

Ojeda finished 3-for-4, his first multi-hit game. The San Diego
catcher had his contract purchased from the Mexico City Red Devils
on May 17.

"Big night. He did a great job," manager Bruce Bochy said.
"We've been looking for a little punch down there and he gave it
to us tonight. He had a huge hit there off Jones. He had great
numbers down in Mexico and he's got a good swing, and tonight he
showed it."

Luther Hackman (2-1) got the last three outs of the seventh for
the win, and Rod Beck pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save
in as many chances.

Ojeda's three-run homer highlighted the third, when errors by
first baseman Todd Helton, right fielder Jay Payton and third
baseman Chris Stynes -- there were two on one play -- led to four
unearned runs and a 5-1 Padres lead.

Helton, a two-time Gold Glove winner, committed two errors in
Tuesday night's win, and has six this year. He came into this
season with a career .996 fielding percentage, sixth highest
all-time for a first baseman. His career high for errors is nine,
in 1999.

Rondell White singled to left to open the third. Ryan Klesko hit
a grounder that went under Helton's glove for an error, then Payton
committed a second error when he let the ball bounce up and behind
him, allowing White to take third. White scored on Burroughs'
sacrifice fly, then Nady reached when Stynes bobbled his grounder.

Ojeda then drove a 1-2 pitch from Scott Elarton deep into the
seats in left.

"You can't give a team as many chances as we did and expect to
win," Helton said.

"We kicked the ball around pretty good in the third inning,"
manager Clint Hurdle said. "But when you make mistakes, you have
to be able to pick up your teammates, and we didn't do that."

Padres left-hander Oliver Perez left with a 5-2 lead, chased by
his sixth walk in his last 2 2-3 innings. He allowed two runs and
two hits, and struck out six.

The first four Rockies batters reached in the seventh, which was
extended by shortstop Mendez's error. Reliever Matt Herges allowed
Ronnie Belliard's RBI double, Jesse Orosco gave up Helton's RBI
single and Hackman gave up Preston Wilson's run-scoring groundout
and a sacrifice fly by former Padres slugger Greg Vaughn.

Payton hit a solo homer with two outs in the second, his 11th,
and Stynes drove in a run in the fourth with a grounder.

Elarton allowed five runs, one earned, on seven hits in five
innings. He walked three and struck out none.

Game notes
The Rockies' last road sweep was June 15-17, 2001, at
Cincinnati. ... The Padres and Pacific Architectural Mill Work
installed the first 10 lockers in the home clubhouse at Petco Park
on Wednesday. The downtown ballpark is scheduled to open in April.
Burroughs and Nady were on hand to hang the first jerseys. ... The
Padres agreed to terms with C Colt Morton and signed SS Justin
Smyres, the club's third and 11th-round draft picks.