Scott Ellis 3 a.m., March 12
After scoring just one combined run against the Astros on Thursday night, the Padres and the Rockies seemed primed for some offense, and neither team disappointed. The Padres simply outslugged their division rivals Friday evening and prevailed, 9-5.
The game featured starting pitchers on opposite ends of their careers, rookie Drew Pomeranz for the Rockies against veteran Jason Marquis of the Padres. Marquis played for the Rockies in the 2009 season.
The Padres struck first. Leading off the bottom of the second inning, Carlos Quentin drove a Pomeranz fastball over the left-center field wall, Quentin’s ninth home run of the season. Chris Denorfia beat out an infield single, and then Yasmani Grandal hit a double into the left field corner to score Denorfia.
Denorfia advanced to third base on a Pomeranz wild pitch, which injured starting catcher Wilin Rosario for the Rockies in the leg and he was replaced by ex-Padre Ramon Hernandez. Yonder Alonso then reached on an error by Rockies shortstop Josh Rutledge.
Everth Cabrera came up and beat out a slow ground ball to third base, scoring Denorfia with Alonso taking second base. Jason Marquis then sacrificed, putting Alonso at third and Cabrera at second with only one out.
But Alexi Amarista struck out and Logan Forsythe grounded out to end the threat. At the end of the second inning, the Padres had staked themselves to an early 3-0 lead.
The lead didn’t last long. In the top of the third inning, Jeff Rutledge doubled to left field, but Drew Pomeranz couldn’t advance him, instead Marquis threw out Rutledge with Pomeranz taking first base on the fielder’s choice. Dexter Fowler then singled to center, and an error by Logan Forsythe on a ball hit by Marco Scutaro loaded the bases.
Carlos Gonzalez then stepped up and belted his 19th home run of the season, and the second grand slam of his career. The Rockies took a 4-3 lead.
Chase Headley then opened the bottom of the third inning with an infield single to deep shortstop, and Carlos Quentin singled to right field. Chris Denorfia then tripled home Headley and Quentin, and Yasmani Grandal took Pomeranz deep to left field for a two-run homer, Grandal’s fifth of the year.
At the end of three innings, the Padres were back on top, 7-4.
The Rockies got a run back in the top of the fifth inning. With one out, Marco Scutaro and Carlos Gonzalez singled, and Michael Cuddyer reached on a throwing error by Jason Marquis. Andrew Browns sacrifice fly cut it to 7-5, as Scutaro tagged and scored from third base.
In the top of the eighth inning, the Padres found themselves in a jam. With Luke Gregerson on the mound and two outs, Ramon Hernandez reached base on an Everth Cabrera throwing error. Josh Rutledge doubled to put runners on second and third.
Joe Thatcher relieved Gregerson and faced Jason Giambi, pinch hitting in the pitcher’s spot for the Rockies. After running the count full on Giambi, Thatcher struck him out.
“[Giambi] has been a great hitter for years,” Thatcher said after the game. “I just wanted to be aggressive. Even though there was a base open, that’s my job to get a lefty out. The first couple of pitches just missed, but I felt sharp so I felt I could get back in the count. He fouled off a good 2-2 slider and I came back with it and just missed, 3-2. I thought about throwing another breaking ball because there was a base open, but I just told myself to be aggressive.”
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Padres added some insurance. Mark Kotsay pinch hit for Thatcher and laid down a bunt single. Cameron Maybin ran for Kotsay, and stole second base, and was then sacrificed to third by Alexi Amarista.
Logan Forsythe came up and hit a sacrifice fly to center field to plate Maybin. Chase Headley then came to the plate and hit a home run to right field, clearing the Petco porch. The Padres led 9-5 going into the ninth inning.
Huston Street came in and mowed down the Rockies in order in a non-save situation. The Padres have now won four in a row and 6 of 8 since the All-Star Game break.
Cameron Maybin was again held out of the line-up on Friday. “He’s a little bit better today,” manager Buddy Black said prior to the game. “Probably a couple more days before we see him, unless you see him in some limited capacity as a defender or a pinch runner. You might not see him swing a bat for a couple of days.” Buddy did, in fact, pinch-run Maybin in the eighth inning on Friday.
The Padres are expected to face two other left-handed pitchers over the next two days. Jeff Francis is expected Saturday and Christian Friedrich is slated for Sunday. With Cameron Maybin down, that leaves the Padres with only one right-handed bat off of the bench. “It’s not ideal; you handle it by handling it. For this series, those are the cards that we’re dealt. So if we need a pinch hitter against a lefty, whether it’s Kotsay, Venable, or Baker, they’re going to give us what they’ve got.”
Saturday’s pitching match-up with Colorado will be Kip Wells (1-3, 2.82) for the Padres, against the Rockies Jeff Francis (2-2, 4.76). First pitch is slated for 5:35 PM PDST, can be seen on Fox Sports San Diego or caught on radio, XX 1090 AM. Better yet, show up at Petco Park for the biggest fireworks show in the history of the stadium, which will happen right after the game.