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Grieve's 9th Inning HR Rallies A's

Coors Field was just the tonic that Ben Grieve needed to snap out of a nine-game slump.

Grieve hit a two-out, three-run homer in the ninth inning, rallying the Oakland Athletics to an 8-6 victory over Colorado on Saturday night.

Bip Roberts also homered and drove in three runs for the A's, who trailed 5-2 before mounting a comeback in the eighth and ninth.

Grieve, a strong candidate for AL rookie of the year, came to Coors Field in the throes of a 7-for-35 slump. He promptly went 4-for-4 with four RBIs on Friday night, and in two games has gone 7-for-8 with seven RBIs.

"I like this place," Grieve said. "I like the feel of the ballpark. I think anyone would like to hit here."

A's manager Art Howe said Grieve "impresses you more and more each day. And, no, we aren't going to trade him to this team just because he likes this ballpark."

The A's scored twice in the eighth, and Roberts, in his third game for Oakland since being acquired from Detroit on Tuesday, drove in the tying run with an RBI single off closer Jerry Dipoto (2-4) in the ninth.

Miguel Tejada led off the ninth with a walk. Pinch-hitter Rickey Henderson struck out, but pinch-hitter Kevin Mitchell singled. Roberts' RBI single to center chased Dipoto, and Dave Veres then struck out Ryan Christenson. McElroy, Colorado's most effective reliever, came in to face Grieve, who hit an opposite-field homer to make it 8-5.

"This was the biggest hit of my career," Grieve said. "I've never had a hit to win a game before."

"He's hitting everything," McElroy said of Grieve. "I threw him a good pitch down and away last night, and he got a single."

Added Rockies manager Don Baylor, who brought in McElroy, a left-hander, to face the left-handed hitting Grieve, "I thought we could get an out on him. The kid's hot, he's swinging a great bat right now."

Billy Taylor pitched the ninth, yielding a solo homer to Jeff Reed but earning his 16th save. The victory went to T.J. Mathews (4-4), who pitched two scoreless innings.

Darryl Kile, bidding for his first victory at Coors Field this season, took a 5-2 lead into the eighth.

Kile, who came into the game with an 0-4 record in five starts at Coors Field and who hadn't won anywhere since May 10, allowed a two-run homer to Roberts in the third inning.

Kile didn't allow another hit until Grieve's broken-bat single in the eighth. Matt Stairs then had an RBI single and, with two outs, Jason Giambi doubled to right-center. One run scored, but Stairs was cut down at the plate on center fielder Jeff Barry's throw and shortstop Neifi Perez's relay to catcher Kirt Manwaring.

Kile, victimized by poor run support in his recent starts, is 0-7 with two no-decisions in his lasnine outings.

"I went as long as I could," Kile said. `I'll take my chances handing it over to Dipper (Dipoto). He's one of the best in the game. Unfortunately, those guys battled back and did their job. It happens."

McElroy said Kile "pitched a hell of a game. That's what makes it so hard to swallow. It would have been nice for him to get a win. We had it in our hands and let it slip away."

The Rockies battered Kenny Rogers for five runs in the fourth their second five-run inning in as many games.

Mike Lansing led off with a single, and Vinny Castilla tripled to left-center. Ellis Burks walked, and Todd Helton and Kurt Abbott followed with RBI singles.

Helton scored from second base on Kirt Manwaring's grounder to first when Giambi had a long run to the bag and threw wide to the plate on an attempted double play. Kile then drove in the fifth run with his second straight double.

Notes: The A's promoted right-hander Steve Connelly from Triple-A Edmonton and designated catcher Izzy Molina for assignment. Connelly was 4-0 with a 3.51 and five saves at Edmonton. ... Kile had gone 0-7 in his previous eight starts, but the Rockies had scored a total of only 17 runs in those games. ... Rogers has worked at least six innings in eight of his last nine starts. ... The loss snapped the Rockies' three-game winning streak and prevented them from reaching a season-high four in a row. ... Kile had two doubles in a game for the first time in his career. He raised his hit total to 11, tying his career high set in 1997 with Houston.

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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