Rockies 10, Padres 5
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 one.”
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 baseball.”
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’sjust not going to be a good day for me.”
: 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 aball off the facing of the third deck in right field during batting practice.