Rusch tosses six strong as Rockies get best of Padres

DENVER (AP) -- A year ago, Glendon Rusch wondered if his career was over. Friday night, he showed he's far from done.

Rusch pitched six solid innings against his former team and Ian Stewart homered to lead the Colorado Rockies to a 6-3 win over the San Diego Padres.

Garrett Atkins was 3-for-4 and drove in three runs and the Rockies rebounded after getting swept in a doubleheader by the Washington Nationals on Thursday.

Brian Fuentes pitched a perfect ninth for his 21st save in 25 chances.

Rusch (5-3) missed all of 2007 after a blood clot was discovered in his right lung in September 2006 and he didn't know if he would pitch again.

"It changes your perspective when you're sitting at home not knowing if you're going to play again to coming back and having an opportunity," he said.

Rusch got his chance in San Diego's bullpen earlier this year, but the Padres released him in May. The Rockies signed him on May 17, and after a rough first outing against the Chicago Cubs, he's been an effective No. 4 starter for the last month, going 4-1.

"Since then he's getting the job done," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "No fireworks, no bright lights. Real businesslike."

On Friday, he beat 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy (8-8), who gave up three runs and walked five in six innings.

Rusch gave up two runs and seven hits. He struck out three in earning his fourth straight win, and he had only one bad stretch that allowed the Padres to tie the game.

With Colorado ahead 2-0, Chase Headley led off the fifth with a double, Nick Hundley tripled him home and then scored on Tadahito Iguchi's single to right.

After Peavy grounded into a fielder's choice, Scott Hairston doubled to put runners on second and third, but Rusch got two groundouts to keep the game tied.

"That was big getting out of the inning," said Rusch, who gave up two runs and seven hits. "I knew getting two off of Peavy was hard enough as it was, and if they were to go ahead we could be in trouble because he's so tough."

The Rockies took the lead for good when Atkins singled home Holliday in the sixth. Colorado broke open the game in the seventh, scoring three more off three San Diego relievers. Atkins knocked in two with two-out double to center to make it 6-2.

On Atkins' double, Hairston and right fielder Brian Giles converged and neither called for the ball, which appeared to bounce between Giles' legs.

"We were both running hard looked up at the same time," Giles said. "I should have called him off. I have to take command."

Giles led off the eighth with his seventh homer of the season.

The Rockies took a 2-0 lead in the second inning when Atkins led off with a single and Stewart drove Peavy's 93 mph fastball into the right-field bleachers for his sixth home run of the season.

"I was trying to be aggressive," Stewart said. "I had never faced Peavy before, so that's all I was trying to do and I was able to put a good swing on it."

Colorado threatened for more when Troy Tulowitzki followed Stewart's homer with a single, but a 54-minute rain delay sent both teams to their dugouts. When the Rockies returned, Giles made a diving catch on a line drive by Willy Taveras.

Peavy shut down the Rockies until Atkins' single in the sixth.

"I did get better after the delay," he said. "I came in and watched tape and talked some and I did get better. It still wasn't close to where I need to be."

Game notes
Padres C Josh Bard was a late scratch. San Diego manager Bud Black said Bard tweaked his right elbow during early batting practice Friday afternoon. Black said Rockies medical director Dr. Thomas Noonan was going to examine Bard. ... RHP Livan Hernandez joined the Rockies on Friday and threw a bullpen session. Hernandez, acquired in a waiver deal with Minnesota on Wednesday, will start Sunday against the Padres.