DENVER (AP) -- Colorado pitcher Darren Oliver has reached a
comfort level at hitter-friendly Coors Field.
And it all begins with catcher Charles Johnson.
"With CJ back there, it's just like playing catch in the
backyard with your dad as a kid," Oliver said. "We're always in
sync at home and I don't think about the ballpark."
Chris Stynes hit his first career grand slam and Brent Butler
and Jay Payton added solo home runs to help Oliver remain
undefeated at home as the Colorado Rockies beat the San Diego
Padres 10-5 Thursday night.
"We have a rhythm going," Johnson said. "And the more I catch
him, the better feel I have for his pitches."
It was the 200th career start for Oliver (4-5), who allowed
three runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings. He improved to 4-0 with
a 3.08 ERA in six starts at home. He is 0-5 with a 6.91 ERA in
eight starts away from Coors Field.
"Other than CJ, there is no explanation," Oliver said.
"Brian wasn't himself with his command," San Diego manager
Bruce Bochy said. "He got some balls up there and they took
advantage of it."
Stynes' grand slam came with two outs in the first inning.
Helton and Wilson singled and Larry Walker drew a walk after
Lawrence had retired the first two batters he faced. Stynes then
drove a 1-1 pitch into the seats in left.
"He sort of left me one over the plate," Stynes said. "It was
my first grand slam and it took me parts of nine years to get
Butler and Payton homered to left in the fourth to extend the
Rockies' lead to 6-1.
"I probably left Darren out there too long," Colorado manager
Clint Hurdle said. "He had given us six very efficient innings of
In the seventh, Wilson had an RBI single and Johnson hit a
sacrifice fly off Jesse Orosco.
"This is a game where I had to go out there and out of my four
pitches I had to throw the two I don't work with and that's my
cutter and changeup," Lawrence said. "If I can't go out there and
throw my sinker and slider, it's just not going to be a good day
Sean Burroughs sat out the game with a strained hamstring.
... The Padres will evaluate shortstop Ramon Vazquez on Friday
before deciding whether to bring him off the DL. ... Mendez was
0-for-9 in the series before his RBI double in the second inning.
... Pitcher Adam Eaton pinch-hit for Lawrence and struck out. ...
Outfielder Gabe Kapler was given his unconditional release by the
Rockies. ... Ian Stewart, Colorado's 2003 first-round draft choice,
hit a ball off the facing of the third deck in right field during