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Desmond keeps raking at Petco in Rox win

Blackmon, LeMahieu homer in ninth inning, while Bettis throws five solid innings
April 2, 2018

SAN DIEGO -- A healthy Ian Desmond is causing the Rockies' opponents even more pain. And he hurts the Padres more than anyone.Desmond's two-run, fifth-inning homer -- his fifth at Petco Park in 11 games since joining the Rockies -- keyed a 7-4 victory over the Padres on Monday night.Desmond,

SAN DIEGO -- A healthy Ian Desmond is causing the Rockies' opponents even more pain. And he hurts the Padres more than anyone.
Desmond's two-run, fifth-inning homer -- his fifth at Petco Park in 11 games since joining the Rockies -- keyed a 7-4 victory over the Padres on Monday night.
Desmond, who also doubled in a run in the third inning, was part of what's been nightly fence-busting for the Rockies. Charlie Blackmon added his fourth homer of the season in the ninth innings to go with two doubles (his first two hits of the season that weren't homers), and DJ LeMahieu followed Blackmon's with his second homer.

The power display -- backed by starting pitcher Chad Bettis, who started off shaky but held the Padres to two runs in five innings -- puts the Rockies at 10 homers, without a single game played at Coors Field.
"I feel like we've swung it pretty well, hit a lot of homers," LeMahieu said. "So hopefully that's a good thing and it can keep going."
Closer Wade Davis notched the final out of the game for his second save with the Rockies.

Last year, at the start of a five-year, $70 million contract, Desmond was hit by a pitch in Spring Training that broke his left hand and cost him the first month of the season. He went on the disabled list twice with a right calf strain, and his final .274 average, seven homers and 40 RBIs were considered a disappointment for a club that nonetheless went to the postseason.
But even with the struggles, Desmond, who exited Saturday's win over the D-backs with right knee soreness, hit at Petco (15-for-42, four home runs and 10 RBIs) last season. So while the 6-for-15 (.400) start to the season is something Rockies fans aren't familiar with, his fifth-inning shot to center off Padres starter Bryan Mitchell was familiar. Last season on May 2, he homered in his first game at Petco and second in a Rockies uniform.

Manager Bud Black, who in the last two games moved Desmond to the middle of the order with shortstop Trevor Story's slow start, said, "I'm seeing good bat speed [from Desmond]. I'm seeing him getting ready to hit and hitting the ball out front. I just think there's some confidence to the swing."
Desmond capped his night with a leaping catch in foul ground of Hunter Renfroe's eighth-inning popup along the netting on the first-base side of the diamond.

Glovework from Chuck: The Padres, who are 0-4 for the first time since 1994, loaded the bases in the second inning for slugger William Myers, who had homered an inning earlier. He sent another deep drive to center, but this time Blackmon tracked it down, making an impressive leaping grab just in front of the wall. The Padres would leave the sacks full in the third, too, this time when Mitchell bounced back to the mound.
"The fence actually comes out a little bit right there on the left-center side -- it's a little bit shorter than the right-center side -- and to be honest, I thought I was much closer to the fence than I actually was," Blackmon said. "I thought I needed to jump and get it.
"But I think the important thing is to get the out."

Easy as 1-2-3: The Rockies put Mitchell on the ropes in every inning Monday night, and Bettis gave him no respite in the fourth. Facing the top of the Padres' order, Bettis worked a 2-2 count on Manuel Margot before striking him out with a slider. The Rockies' right-hander recorded the next two outs on two pitches. It was a big boost for Bettis, who need 63 pitches to get through three innings.
"Honestly, I expended all that extra adrenaline and was able to get back to having my legs under me, and I was able to stay tall on my back side," said Bettis, who used his curveball to slow his mechanics until he found a groove. "Early, I was just picking up my leg and going."
Black said, "There were some moments where he got through it without pitching on his best night."

Carlos Gonzalez's RBI double in the third inning tied him with Vinny Castilla for fourth place in club history in hits, and Gonzalez passed Castilla with a seventh-inning single -- his 1,207th with the Rockies.
"I'm still wearing a Rockies uniform, playing for my fans who support me, and my family is extremely happy to get back," said Gonzalez, who rejoined the Rockies in the middle of Spring Training.

Lefty Kyle Freeland made two starts against the Padres last season and was better at Petco Park (one run on three hits with four strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings in a no-decision in a Rox win on May 4) than at Coors Field (six runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings in an April 12 loss). First pitch on Tuesday in San Diego is 8:10 p.m. MT.
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Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.