Padres come out swinging, pile up hits in Colorado
Friars score nine runs in first two frames; Despaigne gets first knock
DENVER -- It may be a new-look lineup for the Padres, but manager Bud Black came to Coors Field with a batting order stacked with hitters who know the pleasure to be taken from getting in a groove at the Rockies' mile-high ballpark. In Monday's 14-3 victory, the Friars erupted for a season high in runs, pouncing on starting pitcher Jorge De La Rosa for nine in the first two innings.
San Diego batted around in the first frame, putting up five runs on six hits. In the second inning, they scored four runs on three hits, an error and a misread drive to center, and in the fifth inning they put up another five-spot on five hits.
"Coming in, we were expecting to definitely bang it out with [the Rockies lineup]," said Clint Barmes, who spent parts of eight seasons in a Colorado uniform. "De La Rosa is very capable of going out there and shutting us down. To go out there and do what we did today, it was fun on our end."
The Padres piled up the superlatives, amassing 17 hits, with every starter getting at least one in the first five innings. It was the second time they'd accomplished that feat this season, after doing it only once last year.
Starting pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne joined the parade with the first hit of his career after going 0-for-30. He's now batting .030 (1-for-33).
"It feels good," he said through translator and first-base coach Jose Valentine. "But I was even happier, because I had a bet with the pitchers. They said if I get my first hit here, they're going to take me shopping and buy me whatever I want. I'm going to get a bigger closet, because I'm going to get a lot of stuff tomorrow."
The top of the lineup did its job, with Wil Myers, Derek Norris and Matt Kemp going a combined 8-for-15 with three doubles, nine runs and six RBIs. Cleanup hitter Justin Upton was 1-for-3 after missing Sunday's game with a strained left quad, and when he left the game in the fourth to avoid pushing the healing quad in a blowout, his replacement, Will Venable, smashed a two-run homer to cap the five-run fifth.
"The guys kept playing," Black said. "There's been enough games played by this group in this park, be it with other teams -- Kemp, Upton, others -- that they know in this park with that group over there, [Troy] Tulowitzki, [Carlos] Gonzales, [Justin] Morneau, you name it, listen, they score. You got to keep on it, and our guys did, which is great. It was a good game on many fronts."
The Friars felt their early confidence in the club was validated by a memorable display in a park where they could only muster a 2-7 record last season. "Our game plan was definitely to see [De La Rosa] up and basically be ready for pitches that were over the plate," Barmes said. "It's a different park from most, that's for sure, especially as big as the outfield is. But I believe this lineup is capable of doing that at any ballpark."