Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Padres-Rockies: Pinch Hit Single Lifts Padres Past Rockies

With the game tied at 3-3, the last person you'd think Padres' manager Bud Black would call upon was a guy who had spent Sunday and Monday in a San Diego Hospital after suffering an allergic reaction to calamari, not to mention only having one hit in his last nineteen at bats.

But Black turned to short stop Luis Rodriguez in the ninth inning asked him to get that one hit that would put the Padres' back in front of the Rockies. So, with Nick Hundley standing on third after a lead off triple, and the Rockies' infield drawn in, Rodriguez did just that, hitting a Manny Corpas sinker just past the diving Todd Helton that would give the Padres a 4-3 lead heading into the ninth inning.

It was all the room Padres' closer Heath Bell would need, closing out the game for his major league leading eighth save of the season and assuring a 4-3 Padres' win.

Newly called up Chad Gaudin, making his first start for San Diego, was very impressive through his five innings of work giving up just three hits and striking out five, not giving up his first hit until the fourth inning. He was expected to be on a pitch count of around 90-100 and after hitting 88 pitches after five innings, manager Bud Black decided to go to his bullpen.

"He had a pretty good fifth inning, but I just thought that at that point it was best to give [Edward] Mujica a clean inning," said Black. "In case there was a baserunner or two in the sixth and I felt as though I had to go get Chad, I didn't want to throw that on a reliever at that point. Mujica was fresh. Give him a clean inning. And Chad can walk away from this one feeling pretty good about his outing."

The Padres would take an early lead in the third inning, thanks to a two run home run from center fielder Scott Hairston, his third of the season to put the Padres ahead 2-0.

Just when it looked like the Padres were going to hold the Rockies off all night, it was their bullpen that faultered. Edward Mujica would give up a solo home run in the sixth inning to Seth Smith, then Luke Gregerson gave up RBI singles to Ryan Spilbourgh and Todd Helton in the seventh to put the Rockies on top 3-2.

The Padres are getting used to coming from behind, having done it on numerous occasions already this season, Tuesday night was no exception.

Second baseman David Eckstein led off the eighth with a double to left off former Padre Alan Embree. Brian Giles would fly out followed by a ground out from first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, moving Eckstein to third. With two outs and Eckstein standing on third, Chase Headley would rip his eleventh RBI single of the season, a single to right to tie the game at 3-3.

In the home half of the eighth, Padres' reliever Duaner Sanchez, making his first appearance since being sidlined with a sore pitching shoulder, got himself into trouble by loading the bases with just one out, but he would get Troy Tulowitzki to ground into an inning ending double play to end the Rockies' threat.

That set the stage for the Padres' comeback and a win this team desperately needed.

The two teams will be back at it tonight from Coors Field in Denver, CO. The Padres will have right hander Kevin Correia (0-1, 4.50) on the hill while the Rockies will go with right hander Aaron Cook (0-1, 8.35). Cook has struggled over his first four starts, giving up three runs or more in each of those starts including giving up five runs through four innings against the Dodgers and six runs through two and a third innings against Arizona.

Additional Padre Notes: Adrian Gonzalez extended his hit streak to 10 games with a single in the sixth inning. He also extended his on base streak to 20 straight games.

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