Padres rally late, but fall to Rockies in 12 innings
Medica, Spangenberg homer, but it's not enough as Rox best Hahn
DENVER -- There was no way to be sure late Saturday, but Padres second baseman Jedd Gyorko had a pretty good idea how his legs -- and perhaps the rest of his body -- would feel when it came time for a quick turnaround for Sunday's day game at Coors Field.
A nearly five-hour game, especially here in Denver, at a higher elevation, can often take a toll, he said.
"Five-hour games here feel more like 10-hour games," he said. "Guys will tend to move a lot slower."
That made perfect sense after the Padres dropped a 7-6 decision in 12 innings to the Rockies as Drew Stubbs drove in the game-winner in front of what was left of a crowd of 28,496, many of whom were long gone before this one ended after four hours and 52 minutes.
"I think that in that situation all you try to do is get a pitch that's elevated. Whatever it takes, just try to get it to the outfield grass," Stubbs said.
DJ LeMahieu started the 12th inning with a double to right field off Padres pitcher Jesse Hahn, the eighth pitcher of the game for San Diego. He then moved up to third base on a bunt by Charlie Culberson.
The Padres intentionally walked Charlie Blackmon and employed a five-man infield for Stubbs, who bounced a ball past third baseman Yangervis Solarte to win a game.
This one didn't appear destined for extra innings, at least not early on, as the Padres fell behind early by scores of 4-0 and 6-2 before starting their comeback.
They scored twice in the seventh inning as rookie Cory Spangenberg hit a two-run, pinch-hit home run to left field to cut the lead to 6-5.
"It's not a classic home run swing, but he's a strong guy," said Padres manager Bud Black. "He squared that ball up."
Then, in the eighth inning, former Rockies outfielder Seth Smith knocked in the tying run after Solarte started the inning with a single.
The Rockies looked good early, as Justin Morneau and Michael McKenry each hit home runs and Jorge De La Rosa was in line to win his 14th game of the season.
Morneau's two-run home run in the third inning went off the façade in right-center field and proved to be the big blow in the inning.
De La Rosa, who this week signed a two-year, $25 million contract extension, allowed three runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings with one walk and four strikeouts.
"He's their best pitcher and he's been one of the better pitchers in the National League [this season] and to come back like we did, a spirited comeback, I really liked that. I liked the way our guys came back," Black said.
Tommy Medica hit a home run in the fifth inning for the Padres to cut the lead to 4-2. That hit snapped a 0-for-29 dry spell for the Padres' first baseman. The home run was Medica's eighth of the season.
"It felt good. I've been seeing the ball a little better. It was nice to get that one tonight," Medica said.
The Padres got their first run in the fourth inning when Gyorko lined an RBI single to center field for only his second RBI since Aug. 19. He added an RBI double in the sixth inning.
"I think we had good at-bats from top to bottom, even early. I knew if we kept throwing good at-bats out there we would get to him [De La Rosa]," Gyorko said.
San Diego pitcher Joe Wieland, making his first start in 28 months, lasted 2 1/3 innings and allowed four runs on seven hits with two walks and one strikeout. Wieland had Tommy John surgery in July of 2012 and has been working to get back ever since.
"Joe was a little spotty," Black said. "The fastball command wasn't there. He wasn't missing by a lot. He wasn't erratic. He just couldn't make enough pitches with his fastball."
The Padres looked like they might win it in the 11th inning, putting runners on the corners with two outs, but pinch-hitter Andrew Cashner lined out to center field. The Padres needed Cashner because they were out of position players at that point.