Binh H. Nguyen 4 p.m., June 30
In a wild game that took more than nine innings to complete, the Colorado Rockies overcame a Padres rally to tie the score in the bottom of the eighth inning, and survived a near walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth inning on a great sliding catch. The Rockies finally prevailed in twelve innings, beating the Padres 8-6.
“One of those games,” Padres manager Buddy Black said after the game. “You get some runs scored, you get into both bullpens. A lot of things happen. A lot of changes, a lot of close calls on both sides, near hits and near misses, all of those things go into a twelve inning game.”
In the bottom of the first inning, the Padres offense again got off to a fast start when Chris Denorfia singled on a ball deflected by Rockies third baseman Jordan Pacheco, and then Logan Forsythe doubled into the left field corner with Denorfia taking third. Chase Headley singled to center, scoring Denorfia and Forsythe, and the Padres led 2-0 after an inning.
The Padres added a run in the second inning, with one out. On a three balls and one strike count, Rockies starter Jeff Francis delivered a sinker that Jesus Guzman jumped on and drove over the left field fence for his fourth home run of the season, and the Padres increased their lead to 3-0.
Padres starter Kip Wells sailed through the first three innings, but in the top of the fourth inning, the train derailed. With one out, Carlos Gonzalez reached on an error by Logan Forsythe and Michael Cuddyer walked. Tyler Colvin then hit a flair into center field that Chris Denorfia came close to making a spectacular catch on, but still stopped Gonzalez from scoring, and the bases were full.
Jordan Pacheco came to the plate and singled to center field, scoring Gonzalez and Cuddyer, Colvin taking second. That brought up Ramon Hernandez who also singled to center, scoring Colvin with Pacheco taking second base.
Josh Rutledge singled to right field, scoring Pacheco with Hernandez taking third base, and the Rockies had the lead with still only one out and runners on first and third bases. Jeff Francis hit into a fielder’s choice, moving Rutledge to second base, but Wells struck out Dexter Fowler to end the inning, and the Rockies had a 4-3 lead.
The Rockies got another two runs in the top of the fifth inning. With two out, Michael Cuddyer doubled to left, and then Tyler Colvin singled up the middle to drive in Cuddyer. Kip Wells was then lifted for Nick Vincent who gave up a double to left field to Jordan Pacheco, plating Cuddyer.
Vincent finally got Ramon Hernandez to fly out, but not before the Rockies had doubled up on the Padres, 6-3, after four and a half innings.
“[The Rockies] put some at-bats together where they laid off some borderline pitches, they ran deep counts the whole inning. I think [Wells] threw over forty pitches,” Buddy Black said concerning the fourth inning for the Padres starter. “They battled through those at-bats.”
“They nicked [Wells] again for a couple of runs [in the fifth inning]. I think it’s just a combination of Kip ran some deep counts and they saw a lot of pitches and they got some balls through,” Black concluded concerning Wells’ fourth and fifth innings as compared to the first three.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Jesus Guzman led off with a triple into the left field corner. Everth Cabrera then doubled into that same corner to score Guzman. Black then let reliever Nick Vincent attempt a sacrifice, which failed when Vincent struck out.
Chris Denorfia came through with a clutch single to drive in Cabrera, but was cut down trying to take second base on the throw to the plate, which was cut off. Logan Forsythe was safe on an infield single, but Chase Headley struck out to end the inning. After five, the Padres trailed 6-5.
It took until the bottom of the eighth for the Padres to get back into the offensive groove. With Rockies reliever Matt Belisle on the mound and two outs, Carlos Quentin doubled to right field, and Cameron Maybin came in to pinch run. Yasmani Grandal then singled to left field and Maybin came around to tie the score, 6-6, going into the ninth inning.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Will Venable pinch hit for Jesus Guzman and grounded out. Everth Cabrera and Alexi Amarista then both singled. Mark Kotsay came in to pinch hit in the pitcher’s spot and pulled a ball into far right field, where the Rockies Tyler Covin made an outstanding sliding catch and doubled off Cabrera who couldn’t get back to second. The ball was only a couple of inches from being the winning hit.
“Off the bat, I knew it had some height to it and it was hanging up, but I looked where the right fielder was, he was a little bit in the gap. But it stayed up a little too long, and as the ball was dropping and [Covin] was converging, I still thought it was going to drop. He laid out and made a great play,” Black said about Kotsay’s near heroics.
The game then went to extra innings.
In the top of the eleventh inning, Will Venable saved a potential go-ahead run. With two outs, Dexter Fowler hit an infield single, and then stole second base. Marco Scutaro then hit a flair to far right field, where Will Venable made a highlight-reel, full lay-out catch for the third out.
“That was incredible, sort of ironic,” Black said of both catches, first by Covin in the ninth and then by Venable in the eleventh inning. “[Covin] made a great catch, and then I thought Will made a better one.”
In the top of the twelfth inning, Joe Thatcher came in and retired Carlos Gonzalez on a fly ball. Then, Michael Cuddyer singled to right field, his fourth hit of the night off of Padres pitching, and Carlos Torres sacrificed Cuddyer to second base.
Now with two outs, Jordan Pacheco singled to left field, scoring Cuddyer, and Pacheco took second base on the late throw home. Ramon Hernandez singled to center field, and Pacheco scored. Thatcher finally got Josh Rutledge to ground out to end the inning.
The Rockies led 8-6 going in to the bottom of the twelfth inning, and Rafael Betancourt came in to close out the game to clinch the victory for Colorado. The win by the Rockies breaks a four-game winning streak for the Padres.
No significant changes on the injury front. Tim Stauffer has been playing long-toss and is set to pitch off of the mound in the bullpen in San Francisco on Monday and Wednesday, then travel to Peoria to continue his rehab with bullpen sessions and possibly a game in the Arizona Rookie League. On Cameron Maybin, manager Buddy Black said, “Really, nothing new. He says he’s feeling a bit better. This is a situation where he’s going to get better each and every day. There’s no time table yet on his full return, but he’s feeling better.”
In fact, Maybin was forced to bat in extra innings as he came in as a pinch runner and then stayed in as a defensive replacement. Since no one was available on the bench to replace him except for the back-up catcher, Maybin batted and struck out swinging in the bottom of the tenth inning.
Sunday, the Padres conclude their three-game series with the Rockies when they send Ross Olhendorf (3-0, 5.87) to the mound to face Colorado’s Christian Friedrich (5-7, 5.85). The game starts at 1:05 PM PDST, Fox Sports San Diego for those of you viewing and XX 1090 AM for those listening only. Time Warner and AT&T U-verse customers have already made other plans, apparently for the remainder of the summer.