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Rockies cut into lead but can't pull it out

4/15/2004

DENVER (AP) -- Arizona manager Bob Brenly refused to complain,
not even after the Diamondbacks nearly blew a late lead that would
have sent them to a sixth straight loss.

"We'll take them any way we can get them," Brenly said.
"We've all seen plenty of games like that in this ballpark and you
know as a visiting team coming in here no lead is safe."

Richie Sexson and Shea Hillenbrand each homered and drove in
three runs, and Arizona held on for an 11-10 victory over the
Colorado Rockies on Thursday.

"I think the whole team today, those two in particular, made it
a point to get good at-bats," Brenly said of Sexson and
Hillenbrand. "Make (Scott) Elarton throw a lot of pitches, make
sure that when they were ready to swing it was a pitch they wanted
to hit, instead of chasing pitcher's pitches."

Down 7-2 in the third inning, the Rockies closed to 11-10 with
three runs in the eighth.

Matt Mantei got the final four outs, striking out the side in
the ninth, for his second save.

Arizona rookie Casey Daigle gave up six runs in four-plus
innings and failed to get his first major league victory. Mike
Koplove (1-1) worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth to earn
the win.

Jeromy Burnitz tripled, singled and drove in three runs on his
35th birthday. Todd Helton went 2-for-2 with three walks as the
Rockies had their three-game winning streak snapped.

Pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney's two-run double off Jose Valverde
highlighted the Rockies' eighth. Vinny Castilla added an RBI single
off Mantei to make it 11-10.

"It was kind of an ugly game, but a win is a win and we're
excited about it," Sexson said. "We've kind of been down early
and struggling with the bats."

One pitch after being fooled by Elarton (0-2), Sexson hit a
two-run homer in the first. The Rockies matched it with RBI doubles
from Helton and Burnitz in their half of the first.

"I hit a sinker," Sexson said. "I just got inside of it and
hit it. It's the air, the Coors Field air."

Daigle opened Arizona's five-run third with a double as the
Diamondbacks batted around to make it 7-2. Singles by Luis Gonzalez
and Danny Bautista drove in runs and Sexson drew a bases-loaded
walk.

Hillenbrand hit a two-run homer into the right-field bullpen for
a 9-5 lead in the fifth.

"I was just trying to work the count and get a good pitch to
hit," Hillenbrand said. "Fortunately, I saw a slider out over the
plate and was able to get the bat out front a little bit." "That
home run bothered me more than any other because we'd been battling
back," Elarton said of Hillenbrand's home run. "I had my
problems, too many to analyze."

The Diamondbacks made it 10-6 in the sixth on pinch-hitter
Donnie Sadler's double and Roberto Alomar's safety squeeze bunt.

"The results of Elarton weren't what we wanted and I'm sure
what he wanted either," Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. "He
didn't have the command of his fastball and didn't have an
alternative option."

Game notes
The pregame ceremony included a brief video of the career
of Jackie Robinson. ... Arizona CF Steve Finley saved a run with a
diving catch on Greene's sinking line drive in the third. ...
Daigle got his first big league hit. ... Colorado OF Larry Walker
threw on the sideline before Thursday's game. He began the season
on the DL with a strained groin.