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SD@COL: Bass goes five solid innings in his MLB debut

DENVER -- If there is a Major League equivalent to a trial by fire for a pitcher, it's making your first career start at high-altitude Coors Field.

Padres right-hander Anthony Bass handled the heat while barely breaking a sweat.

Called up from Double-A San Antonio on Monday, Bass earned the win after giving up just one run on five hits over five innings. The bullpen took care of the rest as San Diego beat the Rockies, 3-1, in the opener of a three-game set.

Back in his hometown of Trenton, Mich., about 100 friends and family members packed inside a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant to watch.

"That means a lot to me," Bass said of his family's support, which included his parents, Ed and Linda, and his sister, Amy, making the trip to Denver. "Knowing I had that support behind me was huge, and knowing I had people back home really proud of me, it helps me a whole lot."

Bass, 23, would have worked deeper into the game, but after a one-hour, 23-minute weather delay, he was replaced by left-hander Cory Luebke in the sixth. Bass was efficient, if not sharp, striking out one while walking four, but he impressed manager Bud Black with the movement of his pitches.

"Overall, he showed a good, live fastball, a good, hard slider," Black said. "I liked his composure, his poise on the mound."

Bass held the Rockies scoreless until the fourth, when Charlie Blackmon's two-out single to center scored Ty Wigginton, who walked and stole second base.

It was during the fourth that Bass got his first taste of Major League noise. The Rockies faithful raised the decibel level when Wigginton crossed the plate, and it wasn't exactly music to Bass' ears.

"After the fourth, when I gave up that run, the crowd was so loud," Bass said. "I didn't want to hear that sound again."

So when Colorado fans began bringing the noise after Carlos Gonzalez and Chris Nelson led off with singles, Bass said he made it a point to quiet the crowd. After getting Todd Helton to fly out, knocking down Troy Tulowitzki's comebacker to the mound to nail Gonzalez at the plate and getting Wigginton to ground out, Bass had done just that.

Linda Bass, who sported a homemade Padres shirt with her son's name on the back, was hardly surprised to see him wiggle out of the fifth-inning jam.

"He's always so much better under pressure," Linda said.

Said left fielder Ryan Ludwick: "Everyone knows [the Rockies] have a really good lineup, and they're going to score some runs, so that makes it even more impressive."

The Padres jumped on top in the sixth, when Jason Bartlett walked, moved to third on Chase Headley's ground-rule double and scored on Ludwick's groundout, minutes before the game was delayed by rain.

Ludwick drove in the Padres' first run in the opening inning, when he followed three straight singles from Chris Denorfia, Bartlett and Headley, with a sacrifice fly to right field.

"You get a guy on third with less than two outs, and that's where you can make some money, man," Ludwick said. "That's where you can help the team out."

Also helping the team out was its relievers, who combined to pitch four shutout innings, allowing no hits and two walks.

"When you go from the sixth inning on, and two base on balls is all you get from their bullpen, it's going to make it very difficult to come back, whether you're down 2-1 or 3-1," Rockies manger Jim Tracy said.

The Rockies were down, 3-1, after the Padres added an insurance run in the eighth. Cameron Maybin, making his return from the disabled list, tripled over the outstretched glove of Gonzalez in center, and he scored when Alberto Gonzalez recorded an infield single that deflected off reliever Rafael Betancourt, who lost sight of the ball just long enough for Gonzalez to reach.

Maybin also made a fully extended diving catch in center field to rob Seth Smith of an extra-base hit in the fourth.

"It's good to have Cam back," Black said.

Coors Field had been a pitcher's nightmare during the previous four games between the Dodgers and Rockies. Playing in the warmest weather in Denver to date this season, Los Angeles and Colorado combined for 63 runs.

But on Monday, pitching stole the show. Rockies right-hander Aaron Cook, making his second start of the season, gave up two runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings, his outing shortened by the weather delay.

But a Rockies offense that entered the series having recorded five straight games with double-digit hits, couldn't break through against Bass or the Padres 'pen, as closer Heath Bell retired Colorado in the ninth to earn his 18th save.

"That's a great team over there, and you have to give them a lot of credit," Bass said. "I just went out there, threw whatever [catcher Nick] Hundley put down, and just executed my pitches."

So what was Bass' reward for his first Major League win? A trip back to San Antonio.

To make room for left-handed pitcher Wade LeBlanc, who will start Tuesday's game after he is called up from Triple-A Tucson, Bass was told after the game that he would be rejoining the Double-A rotation for now.

But Black said after the game that he expects Bass to help out at the Major League level again.

For his part, Bass took the news in stride.

"It's good thing to go hear some positive feedback and also hear some things I can work on, too," Bass said. "That's what's going to get me back here and hopefully help me stay here for a while."

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