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Rockies' Four Homers Slice A's

The Colorado Rockies are scoring runs again at Coors Field. Lots of them.

The Rockies hit four homers and set a season-high in runs Friday night with a 12-6 victory over the Oakland Athletics.

John Vander Wal and rookie Todd Helton hit two-run homers, and Neifi Perez and Jeff Reed added solo shots in Colorado's 19-hit attack. Helton drove in three runs, while Reed, Vinny Castilla and Mike Lansing had three hits apiece as the Rockies won their third straight.

"I sense that the confidence of our hitters has changed," Rockies manager Don Baylor said. "Right now, it seems no matter who I put in there is swinging the bat well. Vandy got us going with a two-run homer again. And this is after we struggled for so long trying to score runs, especially in this ballpark."

The Rockies have scored 7, 11, 8, 6 and 12 runs in their last five home games all wins. During a four-game losing streak last week, Colorado scored a total of nine runs.

"We starting to hit the ball," Vander Wal said. "Finally, our offense is starting to come around. I don't know how long it's been that the pitchers have been doing their job and we haven't been scoring, especially here. It was getting ridiculous."

Rookie Ben Grieve had four hits and four RBIs for the A's. Rickey Henderson stole two bases, increasing his major league-leading total to 34, scored twice, and had an RBI single.

Leading 7-5, the Rockies put the game away with a five-run seventh inning that included back-to-back homers by Helton and Reed off Jim Dougherty. Helton had a two-run homer, his 10th, and Reed a solo shot, his fifth. Perez and Lansing added RBI singles.

Reliever Mike Munoz (2-0) pitched three scoreless innings to earn the win.

"The seventh inning took us out of the game," A's manager Art Howe said. "If we would have gotten out of it with minimal damage, we would have had a shot. The difference was their bullpen. Their bullpen strung together some zeros and ours didn't."

Both teams scored in each of the first three innings, with Colorado taking a 6-5 lead.

Henderson and Ryan Christenson drew consecutive walks in the first two innings and scored all four times.

The pair scored on Grieve's two-run double off Bobby Jones in the first. They walked with two outs in the second, and Grieve and Mike Blowers followed with RBI singles.

The A's got another run in the third when Rafael Bournigal singled, was sacrificed to second and scored on Henderson's single.

Castilla had an RBI single for the Rockies in the first off Oquist (4-5).

Reed opened the second with a single and Vander Wal followed with a 436-foot homer to center. It was Vander Wal's second homer in as many at-bats; he hit a three-run, pinch-hit homer against Houstoon Thursday.

The Rockies took a 6-5 lead in the third with three runs on five hits. Lansing and Dante Bichette had consecutive doubles to start the inning. Helton's fielder's choice grounder drove in the second run, and Kurt Abbott's sacrifice fly produced the third.

Perez led off the fourth with a homer off reliever Buddy Groom.

Notes: After losing 22 of their first 33 games at Coors Field, the Rockies have won their last five. ... Munoz' three-inning stint was his longest of the season and tied his career high. ... The Rockies have hit back-to-back homers five times this season, and Helton has been involved four times. ... At 39, Henderson is bidding to become the oldest stolen-base champion in baesball history. Eddie Collins of the Chicago White Sox was 37 when he led the AL with 42 steals in 1924. ... Oquist, a native of La Junta, Colo., had won four of his previous five decisions. ... Rockies owner Jerry McMorris handed out two free tickets to the All-Star game and All-Star workout day to a fan at the game. He will repeat the giveaway on Saturday and Sunday.

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

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