Padres stage late rally, send Rockies to fifth straight loss
DENVER -- Derek Norris' two-run double broke an eighth-inning tie and gave the Padres their third straight victory -- 7-6 at Coors Field on Tuesday night over the Rockies, who have lost five straight.
The Padres entered the eighth trailing, 5-3. Yangervis Solarte and Wil Myers delivered RBI singles off Boone Logan (0-1). In between, Logan fielded an Alexi Amarista squeeze bunt attempt and cut down a runner at the plate. But Norris doubled to right-center just past the outstretched glove of Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon, giving the Padres the lead and reliever Brandon Maurer (1-0) the win.
"Our guys battled," Padres manager Bud Black said. "It was great. We had some good at-bats. We kept scratching and clawing and doing what we need to do and contributions all the way through the lineup."
The Rockies had built their lead in part on Nick Hundley's RBI triple in the fourth and Blackmon's two-run triple in the fifth.
Hundley led off the bottom of the ninth with his first Rockies homer, to right field off Craig Kimbrel, who recovered for his fifth save.
"After Nick's homer, Kimbrel buckled down and made some good pitches," Black said.
Rockies lefty starter Tyler Matzek left with a 5-2 lead despite walking a career-high six and giving up four hits -- including a Clint Barmes solo homer -- in the first five innings. But after Jorge De La Rosa lasted just two innings Monday night, the short start left what proved to be too many innings for the Rockies' bullpen.
It led to a tough evening for Logan, who entered with a 1.50 ERA through six appearances.
"We haven't had a lead in a week, it seems like," Logan said. "We made it all the way to the eighth, and I had to go out there and blow it."
Not since Kyle Kendrick, who will start Wednesday in hopes of ending a two-game slump, went seven innings on Opening Day has a Rockies pitcher completed more than six innings.
"You can't do that for too long," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "I thought Matzek did a good job. He escaped some trouble. he had to work hard to get through five. After having to run the bases hard [after his single to open the bottom of the fifth], it made my decision." More >
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Homecoming homer: Barmes put the Padres on the board first with his first homer of the year, a drive off Matzek over the left-field fence to lead off the third. The former Rockie was homerless in 2014, and hit his last home run on Sept. 11, 2013, in Texas off Tanner Scheppers. Tuesday's blast for Barmes ended a span of 153 at-bats without going deep.
"It's always fun playing here," Barmes said. "This is one of my favorite parks to play in. I'll take it whenever I can get it. It's definitely nice to come back and play well here." More >
Now that's just weird: After the Rockies scored twice in the fourth to tie at 2, Matzek walked the first two to open the fifth -- including Padres starter Brandon Morrow (six innings, five runs, six hits), who had never been on base in the Majors and was trying to give away an out with a bunt. Myers singled to right, only for Carlos Gonzalez's throw to the plate to catch Barmes in a rundown. After third baseman Rafael Ynoa's error loaded the bases, Matzek faced Matt Kemp and cooly forced his third double-play grounder.
"I just knew I had to get through it," Matzek said. "Hundley kind of got on me, yelled at me a little bit, got the fire up. That's what I needed right then. I beared down and wasn't going to let anybody score."
Keeping Matzek going: Had the lead not disappeared, the Rockies would be celebrating staunch infield work. They turned a total of four double plays, three behind Matzek. The slickest might have been the one to end the fourth, when second baseman DJ LeMahieu made a backhand grab of Yonder Alonso's grounder and flipped to second to start the double play.
"'Matz' made the big pitch when he needed to, and picked us up a couple of times," LeMahieu said. "He battled. I know he wished he could've gone longer in the game."
Leaping leather: Kemp made a key defensive play in right field in the seventh, leaping to snare a line drive off the bat of Blackmon that would have yielded extra bases. Blackmon tripled to right in the fifth to put the Rockies ahead, and Hundley tripled past a diving Kemp to put the Rockies on the board in the fourth, but down by two with two out in the seventh, Kemp flashed leather and snuffed a Rockies rally in its tracks.
"I got a pretty good jump on the ball," Kemp said. "Just trying to get back and make the catch. He hit the ball pretty hard. I just made an effort and got to it." More >
"There's times where I may go to 'Otto' [closer Adam Ottavino] for that last out in the eighth. But I felt the inning was set up for Boone … I was a little reluctant to bring 'Otto' in with the shape we were in out there [in the bullpen]," -- Weiss, on why he didn't turn to Ottavino -- and ask for a four-out save -- to face the right-handed-hitting Norris in the eighth
"It's a 25-man effort. We had a starting pitcher pinch-running for us tonight. We're getting contribution from guys other than the eight starting position players. We got guys coming off the bench and contributing, guys coming in and doing a great job of filling in. That's all you can ask for." -- Norris, on the Padres' never-say-die comeback effort
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Barmes' homer was the Padres' 14th in their 15th game this month. Last year (counting a March 30 game), they had 15 homers in 29 games through April 30. They've also hit in nine consecutive games for the first time since hitting a homer in 10 straight games from May 12-22, 2006.
GETTING CarGo GOING
During the road trip, Gonzalez saw signs that his timing was coming around. But those moments have proven fleeting. He's at .189, and Weiss said after the game he will give some consideration to moving him out of the heart of the order for a break. Still, Gonzalez is confident.
"That's the thing about early in the season -- you either hit .500 or you hit zero," Gonzalez said. "You have a zero ERA or a 10 ERA. All it takes is one bad game or a couple games. We've all got to put that in the past."
Padres: James Shields climbs the hill for the Friars on Wednesday, bringing a 2-0 record and a 2.84 ERA to his fourth start. Shields has pitched six, seven and six innings in his first three starts, allowing two runs, one run and four runs (three earned), respectively. He'll face fellow righty Kyle Kendrick in a battle of Opening Day starters.
Rockies: Colorado signed Kendrick to stabilize the rotation, but he has lost the past two starts and struggled with control. He'll have to find a way against the Padres and Shields on Wednesday night.
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