Lyles endures rough outing, drops first decision of '14
Tulowitzki hits 12th homer, but righty allows six runs in 3 1/3 innings
DENVER -- Inevitably, Jordan Lyles was going to stumble. He had unexpectedly vaulted to the front of the Rockies' rotation by winning his first five decisions. But slippage was bound to come, and it did in a big way Saturday night as the Padres took advantage of Lyles' poor control and beat the Rockies 8-5.
Lyles gave up two runs in each of the first three innings and was knocked out after 3 1/3 innings, allowing five hits and issuing a career-high six walks while throwing 92 pitches, just 46 for strikes.
"Just didn't throw enough strikes," said Lyles, who entered the game 5-0 with a 2.66 ERA in eight starts, including three at Coors Field where he was 3-0 with a 1.25 ERA. "Too many balls, too many walks. I'm not going to be successful like that, no one is. You can't put guys on base here or anywhere that many times. It's just one of those things you learn from and turn the corner and try to get better from and look forward to your next start."
Padres starter Robbie Erlin pitched five innings, leaving after Drew Stubbs' leadoff single in the sixth on just his 63rd pitch. Erlin got double-play grounders in the first, third and fifth. The latter came in the fifth with pinch-hitter Charlie Culberson batting, runners on first and second with no outs and the Rockies trailing 6-3.
Nick Vincent relieved Erlin and gave up a single to shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who went 3-for-4. Left fielder Carlos Gonzalez, who went 2-for-3 with two doubles and three RBIs, then lined a two-run double over the head of center fielder Will Venable that cut the Padres' lead to 6-5.
After third baseman Nolan Arenado popped out, Vincent hit first baseman Justin Morneau with a pitch, but got catcher Jordan Pacheco to ground into a double play.
The Padres made it 8-5 when pinch-hitter Carlos Quentin hit a two-run homer off Chris Martin after Yasmani Grandal singled with two outs. It was the first homer off Martin, who was making his ninth career Major League appearance. The Padres scored seven of their eight runs with two outs.
Quentin was playing just his fourth game after coming off the disabled list Tuesday following a left knee bone contusion injury in Spring Training that forced him to miss 39 games. It was Quentin's first home run since July 25, 2013, at Milwaukee. Five days later, he made his final 2013 appearance, due to a right knee injury that required surgery in September.
"He's dangerous, no doubt about it," Padres manager Bud Black said. "His track record as an offensive performer speaks for itself. He's a guy the opposing team, the opposing manager has to think about."
Lyles labored through a 37-pitch first inning that included just 16 strikes. He walked three and hit a batter, but was fortunate to allow only two runs on Yonder Alonso's double, the only hit Lyles yielded in the inning that ended when Grandal grounded out with the bases loaded. Alonso's two-out double came after Lyles walked two and struck out two.
Tulowitzki cut the Padres' lead to 2-1 with his 12th homer in the first, but Seth Smith hit a two-run shot over the center-field wall with two out in the second to make it 4-1. The homer was his fourth and scored Chris Denorfia, who had doubled.
Alonso led off the third with a double, moved to third and scored on a groundout. Venable, who had walked with one out, scored on Erlin's two-out single.
"Hats off to them for letting me put them on base and being patient when they saw I wasn't attacking the way I usually do," Lyles said
The Rockies began to creep back in the game with a run in the fourth to make it 6-2 when Gonzalez hit a sacrifice fly after singles by Stubbs and Tulowitzki. Morneau led off the fifth with a double, moved up on Erlin's wild pitch and scored to make it 6-3 when Pacheco singled.
After Gonzalez's double in the sixth trimmed the Padres' lead to one run, Quentin's homer gave the Padres breathing room, but the Rockies took another shot in the seventh against Dale Thayer. Two-out singles by Charlie Blackmon and Stubbs set the stage for Tulowitzki, who hit a liner right at Headley.
Gonzalez opened the eighth with a ground-rule double against Joaquin Benoit, who set down the next three batters. Padres closer Huston Street then retired the side in order in the ninth to earn his 13th save in as many chances this season.
"Lyles didn't have his best stuff today," Gonzalez said. "We weren't ready for that. The way he's been pitching the whole year, every time he's on the mound, you kind of expect something better than that. But bad games happen."
The Rockies lost for just the sixth time in 20 games this season at Coors Field, where their success led them to believe they would overhaul the Padres and be savoring a hugely satisfying comeback win.
"The guys fought back really well," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "Got down early and made a move and got in position to win that game. It's a great job fighting back, we just came up short. I think everybody felt like we were going to end up winning that game but just came up short."