Counsell hits first HR since July; Bruney converts save

DENVER (AP) -- A light-hitting infielder cracked a home run. A setup man earned the save. Arizona found yet another new way to win Sunday and added another dispiriting chapter to Colorado's broken record of a season.

Craig Counsell hit his first homer since last July and Brian Bruney converted a rare save opportunity to help the Diamondbacks take the lead in the NL West with a 5-4 victory over the struggling Rockies.

"Any good team has to have contributions from a lot of people," Counsell said. "That's how you win, and that's why you are a good team."

Arizona's win and Los Angeles' 5-2 loss to Atlanta gave the Diamondbacks a one-game lead over the Dodgers and a half-game lead over San Diego in the division.

After fouling off two pitches, Counsell took a 3-2 pitch from Jason Jennings (1-5) over the wall in right-center with one out in the seventh for a 4-3 lead. Alex Cintron had an RBI double, one of his two hits, to make it 5-3 in the eighth.

Preston Wilson hit an RBI double with one out in the eighth to pull the Rockies within one, but Mike Koplove retired the next two batters to get out of the inning.

Bruney closed in place of Brandon Lyon, who has 13 saves and is tied for the major-league lead with Pittsburgh's Jose Mesa but has worked a lot recently and was given another day off by manager Bob Melvin.

"That's not an easy thing to do when you have a one-run lead going into the ninth inning," Melvin said. "But I felt like we had to do that."

Bruney allowed a walk and a single in the ninth. But with one out, he retired baseball's leading hitter, Clint Barmes, and then got Aaron Miles to earn his second save in three tries this season.

"It's just a different inning," Bruney said. "You can still lose a ballgame in the seventh. I was happy with today. I got Barmes, and he's their best hitter right now. I was in a jam and today was a day I had to come with it."

Shawn Estes (4-3) allowed three runs and six hits over six innings to earn his second win this year against his old team. Last year, Estes went 15-8 for the Rockies, the fourth-best win total in franchise history.

Trailing 3-1, Arizona tied it in the sixth off an RBI groundout from Cintron and an RBI double from former Rockies shortstop Royce Clayton, who had two hits.

Both runners who scored reached base off walks from Jennings, who finished with three. Those, plus another walk by reliever Jose Acevedo, lifted Colorado's major league-worst total to 180.

"We've seen it all too often," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said of Jennings' walks. "It wasn't a hiccup. He lost control."

The walks and lack of clutch hitting have defined the young, rebuilding Rockies this season -- not exactly the bumblers their 10-25 record might indicate but not making enough plays to keep the record respectable. The loss dropped them percentage points
behind Kansas City (11-27) for baseball's worst record.

Jennings left after allowing Counsell, an eight-year veteran, to hit his 19th career homer. Jennings threw 6 1/3 innings, allowing six hits and four runs. His ERA shrunk slightly, to 6.19.

"It was a pretty good pitch, down in the zone," he said. "I didn't want to walk him. The last thing I thought he was going to do was hit it out of the park."

He did, though, and the Diamondbacks found yet another formula to turn things around. This time last year, they were 16-23 en route to 111 losses, 17 more than Colorado. Now they're 23-16.

"You find that the teams that have success at the end of the year, they get contributions from a lot of people," Counsell said. "The big guys are going to do it, but everybody else has to pick it up."

Rockies rookie Garrett Atkins hit his second homer in the third to tie it at 1. Wilson had three hits for Colorado, including a leadoff double in the sixth. But Estes retired the next three batters -- Matt Holliday, Dustan Mohr and Todd Greene -- to get out of the inning.

Lance Cormier relieved him and held Colorado without a run through the seventh to make it 18 straight scoreless innings to start the season, tying the team record set by Curt Schilling in 2002. The streak ended in the eighth when Wilson doubled off Koplove to score a run charged to Cormier.

Game notes
Todd Helton played in his 1,170th game with the Rockies, tying the franchise record held by Larry Walker. ... Helton was credited with a sacrifice bunt in the fourth, just the third of his career and his first since Aug. 23, 2001. ... Diamondbacks third baseman Troy Glaus sat out after having a cortisone injection in his knee Saturday. ... Arizona has Monday off but Melvin will not tinker with the rotation. Javier Vazquez will pitch Tuesday against the Astros.