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Rockies Look To Narrow Padres' Division Lead Once Again

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(Sports Network) - The Colorado Rockies attempt to climb even closer to the top of the NL West standings when they resume a three-game series against the division-leading San Diego Padres tonight at Petco Park.

Colorado is five games off the division lead after beating San Diego, 10-6, last night in the series opener. Carlos Gonzalez, Miguel Olivo and Ryan Spilborghs each hit two-run homers and Seth Smith added a solo blast for the Rockies, who ended a two-game slide to win for the seventh time in 11 tries.

"I wasn't anticipating the final score to be 10-6, I really wasn't," said Rockies manager Jim Tracy. "A lot of credit to our offense. We took some great at-bats tonight. You hit four home runs in this ballpark, and two of them to right field, you've done some hittin'."

Olivo finished with four RBI and major league wins leader Ubaldo Jimenez took a no-hitter into the sixth inning to get his 14th victory of the season. He ended up allowing four runs and four hits in six innings with seven K's and four walks. Jimenez is tied with Florida's Josh Johnson for the best earned run average at 1.83.

Jason Hammel hopes to lower his ERA when he toes the rubber for Colorado tonight. Hammel is 5-3 with a 4.31 earned run average in 12 starts this season, and is 4-0 over his last six starts. He previously took the mound in last Thursday's 13-11 loss versus Boston, but did not figure into the decision after giving up four runs and seven hits in four innings.

Hammel, a right-hander, had won three straight starts before the no-decision and will shoot for his first road victory of the season. He is 0-2 in four road outings and 0-0 with a 5.29 ERA in six career games (5 starts) against the Padres. He faced them in a 5-4 loss on April 10, delivering seven innings of four-run ball in the no-decision.

San Diego is four games ahead of Los Angeles and 4 1/2 games in front of San Francisco in the NL West standings. The last thing it needs is for Colorado to make a case for division supremacy.

In last night's four-run loss, Scott Hairston homered and finished with four RBI for the Padres, who lost for the second time in eight games. Chase Headley and Adrian Gonzalez both knocked in a run in defeat.

Kevin Correia started for the Friars and was rocked for six runs in five innings to suffer the loss. He walked six batters and struck out three.

"Walks just frustrate the heck out of me, more than anything," Correia said on the team's site. "I just don't feel wild right now. I need to stop walking guys, period. There's no shoulda', coulda', woulda' anymore. It's got to happen now. I just hope I get the opportunity to dig myself out."

San Diego hopes that Wade LeBlanc can get it back into the win column when he makes his 14th start Tuesday. LeBlanc fell to 4-5 in his most recent start, a 5-3 loss at Tampa Bay last Thursday. He allowed four runs on 11 hits over 5 1/3 innings and raised his ERA from 2.88 to 3.16.

LeBlanc, who is 2-3 in eight home outings in 2010, is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in two career starts against Colorado. He faced the Rockies in a 3-2 win back on May 4, but did not record a decision after six innings of two-run ball.

Colorado has won five of seven meetings with San Diego this summer after going 10-8 in the 2009 season series.