Hawpe helps Rockies to 6-2 win over San Diego and cut wild-card lead

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SAN DIEGO (AP)—Brad Hawpe is providing the power for the Rockies’ late-season surge, and with a week to go has Colorado on the brink of a franchise record for wins.

Not to mention a chance to make the playoffs.

Hawpe drove in two runs and the Rockies matched a season-high with their seventh straight victory, closing on the wild card-leading San Diego Padres with a 6-2 win Saturday night.

The Rockies climbed within 2 1/2 games of the Padres, who now find themselves trying to fend off a stiff challenge out of the NL East. The second-place Philadelphia Phillies are within a half-game of San Diego after beating Washington 4-1 in 10 innings.

Colorado (83-72) is chasing only its second postseason berth in the club’s 17-year history.

“This has been about as good as it’s been for us since most of us have been here with the Rockies,” Hawpe said. “It’s been our best chance so far. It’s been our best team. We’ve done well but we have a lot of work left.”

Hawpe matched his career high with four hits one night after hitting the go-ahead home run in the 14th inning of a 2-1 win over the Padres. Hawpe, who also walked, is 10-for-18 with nine RBIs in his last four games.

The Padres, who have lost two straight after a seven-game winning streak, dropped 2 1/2 games behind NL West-leading Arizona, a 6-2 winner over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

San Diego rookie Jack Cassel (1-1) lasted just 2 1-3 innings, while the Rockies’ Mark Redman took a 3-0 lead into the fifth inning but could only get one out before he was lifted.

Four Colorado relievers combined to give up one hit in 4 2-3 innings. Rookie Ryan Speier (2-1) got the win, striking out three of the five batters he faced.

Speier escaped a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the fifth to preserve Colorado’s 3-2 lead.

“If there was a save out there tonight, Speier would have gotten it,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “It was a big shot in the arm for us right there in the middle of the game.”

Hawpe put Colorado ahead in the first when he doubled in Troy Tulowitzki, who singled with one out and went to second on Todd Helton’s walk.

Kaz Matsui and Tulowitzki singled to open the third. After Mike Cameron made a leaping catch of Helton’s fly ball to center field, Garrett Atkins hit a run-scoring single and knocked Cassel out of the game.

Justin Hampson replaced Cassel and gave up Hawpe’s RBI single to put Colorado ahead 3-0. Hampson got out of the jam by striking out the next two batters.

“You look at their everyday lineup and they’ve got some guys who are coming of age,” Padres manager Bud Black said.

Hawpe is right in the mix of young Rockies who have played well down the stretch.

“He’s got a history of doing this,” Hurdle said. “There are stretches where he can hit just about everything thrown up there.”

Redman had allowed just one single in four innings before Khalil Greene led off the fifth with his 24th home run. With one out, Redman allowed a double to Josh Bard and Marcus Giles’ single before he walked pinch hitter Morgan Ensberg to load the bases.

Redman than walked Brian Giles on a 3-1 count to force in a run and cut the lead to 3-2. Speier came in and struck out Cameron and retired pinch-hitter Scott Hairston on a pop fly.

“It was a huge win for us,” Speier said. “To get the ball in that situation was amazing for me.”

Helton added an RBI single in the seventh off Joe Thatcher to put the Rockies ahead 4-2. The Rockies scored two more in the eighth when center fielder Cameron dropped pinch-hitter Joe Koshansky’s long fly ball.

Redman allowed two runs and four hits in 4 1-3 innings, with three strikeouts and two walks. Cassel gave up three runs and six hits.


Rockies LF Matt Holliday sat out with a strained left oblique. … Hairston pinch-hit for the switch-hitting Milton Bradley in the fifth, after the Rockies brought in the right-handed Speier. Bradley, who returned to the lineup Friday from a strained right oblique, is still unable to bat left-handed without pain.

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