Thursday, April 30, 2009

Padres-Rockies: Two Home Runs From Gonzalez Not Enough in Loss to Rockies

Padres' first baseman Adrian Gonzalez would be the first to tell you that setting a team record doesn't mean as much as his team getting a win. So, when he set the team record for most home runs in the month of April (9), you could understand why his mood was a little somber.

Adrian was responsible for three of the Padres' five runs, hammering a solo shot in the seventh inning and followed that up with a two run blast in the eighth for his eighth and ninth home runs of the year, but it was too little too late as the Padres dropped a 7-5 decision to Colorado Wednesday afternoon.

Rockies' starter Aaron Cook just had to pick the Padres to have his best outing of the season, shutting out the Padres for six innings before giving up three runs in the seventh inning off home runs from Adrian Gonzalez and catcher Henry Blanco.

Padres' right hander Kevin Correia had his usual outing, giving up three runs through his five innings of work but his walks continue to get him into trouble, walking four for the third time in his first four starts. He at least kept his team in the ballgame, but says he wants to get his pitch count down to be able to pitch deeper into games.

"I'm not giving up too many runs," said Correia. "I'm just not staying in the game long enough. I had a couple longer innings, and my pitch count's just too high right now. I got to find a way to get it down."

It took just two swings of the bat for Correia to fall behind. In the second inning, Correia had a full count to Rockies' catcher Chris Ianetta with two outs and pitcher Aaron Cook on deck. Correia tried to throw a slider but missed with his location and Ianetta got enough of it to hit it over the left field fence for a two run home run to put the Rockies ahead 2-0.

In the very next inning, Rockies' first baseman Todd Helton got a hold of a 3-1 offering from Correia for a solo shot to extend the lead to 3-0 but would keep them off the scoreboard in the fourth and fifth innings, departing after completing the fifth inning.

That's when the game got out of hand. Cla Meredith would give up an RBI single to Chris Ianetta and a sacrifice fly to Dexter Fowler before being pulled in favor of newly called up Arturo Lopez. Unfortunately, Lopez didn't fare any better, giving up two walks and a two run single to Todd Helton to extend the Rockies' lead to 7-0.

It was too much for San Diego to overcome, although two home runs from Adrian Gonzalez and one from Henry Blanco brought them close but not close enough.

Miraculously, even though San Diego is just one game above .500, they remain in second place in the National League Western Division behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. Shows how competetive, or lack thereof, the NL West is in 2009.

Speaking of the Dodgers, the Padres will be in Los Angeles for the first of a four game set starting tonight. Young right hander Josh Geer (0-0, 4.91) will try to rebound from his rough relief appearance a few days ago, giving up four runs in three innings as he gets the start tonight against the Dodgers.

As for LA, James McDonald (1-1, 7.11) will make his third start of the season, though he didn't have much luck in his first two starts. He gave up five runs on two hits while walking three in just two and one third inning in his first start against Arizona.

He had more luck in his second start against Colorado, going four and a third shutout innings, giving up just four hits but didn't pitch long enough to earn a decision in a 14-2 win.

McDonald made another start against the Rockies six days later and didn't fare nearly as well. He gave up four runs on five hits in five innings of work, getting his first win of the season.

Additional Padre notes: Adrian Gonzalez extended his hit streak to eleven straight games with his solo home run in the seventh inning. He's now reached base safely in all 21 games.

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