<
>

Gant knocks in 1,000th run in Padres' victory

9/1/2002

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- There's little that surprises Ron Gant after 15
years in the majors.

But Gant couldn't help but get emotional after he reached 1,000
career RBI Sunday as the San Diego Padres beat Colorado 7-5,
handing the Rockies their season-high ninth straight loss.

Gant reached the milestone with a solo homer off Kent Mercker in
the sixth.

"It means I've played a lot of baseball,'' said Gant, playing
for his eighth team. "It's pleasing because it shows consistency,
and I've always strived for that.''

Gant also threw out Gabe Kapler at the plate in the fifth inning
with Colorado already ahead 5-3.

Gant fielded a single by Brent Butler in left field and fired a
strike on one-hop to catcher Tom Lampkin. Kapler bowled over
Lampkin, who held onto the ball.

Deivi Cruz's two-run double highlighted the Padres' four-run
fifth inning as they took a 7-5 lead.

After Phil Nevin's solo homer off Mercker in the sixth, Gant
followed with his 15th homer for his milestone RBI.

"I've enjoyed this season as much as any I can remember in
recent years,'' Gant said. "It's been so much fun despite the fact
we haven't won as much as we would have liked.''

Doug Nickle (1-0) pitched a scoreless fifth, working out of a
bases-loaded jam, for his first major league win. Trevor Hoffman,
the last of eight Padres pitchers, got the last out for his 35th
save.

The Padres are one win away from their first four-game sweep
since doing it against the Rockies on June 25-28, 1999.

The Rockies blew leads of 4-2 and 5-3. The losing streak is
their longest since they dropped 11 in a row in 2000.

"There comes a time when you have to go out on the field and
(win),'' Rockies center fielder Juan Pierre.

Victor Santos (0-3) got Ramon Vazquez to hit into an
inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the fourth, but
gave up four runs in the fifth.

Larry Walker homered, doubled and drove in three runs for the
Rockies.

"We still have a pretty good attitude,'' said Greg Norton, who
was 3-for-4 with a solo homer for the Rockies. "We'll be out there
tomorrow and try to get a winning streak started.''

The Padres scored just one run after loading the bases in both
the third and fourth innings.

San Diego trailed 5-3 when it loaded the bases with no outs in
the fifth after Mark Kotsay's leadoff single, a single by Ryan
Klesko and an intentional walk to Nevin, all against Santos.

After Gant popped out, Kotsay scored on a passed ball by Gary
Bennett. A walk to Gene Kingsale loaded the bases, and Cruz
delivered his two-run double. Vazquez singled in the final run in
the inning for a 7-5 lead.

San Diego's Adam Eaton started his first game since July 5,
2001, against Colorado. Eaton, who underwent "Tommy John'' surgery
on Aug. 21, 2001, allowed five runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings.

"I did not have good location,'' said Eaton. "But after all
the buildup to today, I felt good.''

Game notes
The Padres set a club record for nine innings by using
eight pitchers. ... Colorado's Todd Helton, who started the day
fourth in the NL in batting at .331, struck out four times for the
first time in his major league career. ... The Rockies broke a
string of 20 consecutive scoreless innings with their run in the
first. ... San Diego set a major league mark when Nickle became its
57th player used this season. The Padres tied the mark of 56 they
shared with the 1915 Philadelphia Athletics when Eaton started the
game. ... Colorado's all-time record for consecutive losses is 13,
set in 1993.