San Diego's momentum slowed
Padres fall in 14, give ground in NL Wild Card race
SAN DIEGO -- It would be unfair to say the Padres' seven-game winning streak came to an abrupt halt Friday at PETCO Park, not when their game with the Rockies covered four hours, four minutes and all of 14 innings.
It only felt that way.
It might seem a little unfair to the Padres that whatever momentum they harvested during the streak -- tangible or otherwise -- meant essentially nothing and actually cost them with their 2-1 loss to the Rockies before a vigilant crowd of 31,288.
Beating up on the Giants and Pirates during this homestand meant absolutely nothing on Friday, as Brad Hawpe's home run in the 14th inning not only breathed some life into the Rockies' fleeting postseason hopes but waylaid the Padres' push toward the postseason.
"As many hitters as they have, they are bound to run into one in 14 innings," said Padres pitcher Jake Peavy, whose seven innings of one-run baseball was reduced to a memory and a footnote by the time this one ended.
Joe Thatcher, the fifth pitcher San Diego manager Bud Black employed during the game, allowed a long home run over the center-field fence to Hawpe with two outs in the inning, giving the Rockies (82-72) a lead the Padres couldn't overcome.
Not again, at least.
The Padres (85-68) -- who slipped 1 1/2 games back of first-place Arizona in the National League West while the Phillies climbed to within a 1 1/2 games in the Wild Card race -- looked lost offensively for the first eight innings, frustrated mostly by the strong starting pitching of rookie Franklin Morales.
Morales, a 21-year-old flamethrower, allowed one hit over six innings as he etched his name to the ever-growing list of young talent in the National League West that the Padres will have to contend with.
If not for allowing a clean fifth-inning single to Marcus Giles and four walks, Morales might have made Rockies manager Clint Hurdle's decision to lift him after six shutout and mostly drama-free innings much more difficult.
"He pitched good -- I watched the tape," said San Diego left fielder Milton Bradley, who went 0-for-4 as he returned to the lineup after missing 12 games. "He had good stuff. He pitched a little different than I expected, but for the most part, [he threw a] changeup, breaking ball and good fastball."
Morales, who won't turn 22 until January, not only popped the radar gun with a high 90s mph fastball, but he successfully mixed in his curveball and changeup enough so the Padres hitters had difficulty zeroing in on any one specific pitch.
"Wow, he's got one of the better arms we've seen this year," Padres manager Bud Black said. "That's a good arm."
Once Morales left, the Padres' luck changed, though it took them until the ninth inning to get a run. Adrian Gonzalez led off the frame by jumping on the first pitch he saw, driving a fastball over the fence in center field off Manny Corpas.
For Gonzalez, it was his 27th home run of the season. He is the first Padres player to hit 27 homers in a season since Ryan Klesko hit 29 in 2002.
"It was a big homer against the guy with good stuff," Black said. "It got us back in the game with a chance to continue."
By that time, Peavy was long gone. However, he certainly had left an indelible mark on the Rockies, who managed just three hits in seven innings off the right-hander. Peavy lowered his ERA from 2.39 to 2.36.
Peavy might have been in line for victory No. 19 had he not allowed a run in the seventh inning -- well, and if the Padres had done something against Morales.
Peavy, who struck out All-Star Matt Holliday twice earlier in the game, issued a walk to the Rockies outfielder. After Todd Helton slapped an opposite-field single to left, Peavy got Garrett Atkins to hit a fly ball to center field that sent Holliday running for third base.
That's when Hawpe followed with a line-drive single to right field that allowed Holliday to easily trot home with the first run in the game.
"I felt like I threw the ball OK. ... The walk to Holliday got me," said Peavy, who had eight strikeouts. "The Rockies have a good team, and now they have some great arms in their bullpen."
And, apparently, plenty of them.
The Rockies, who are now 3 1/2 games back of the Wild Card lead, used seven relievers. Those hurlers combined to allow one run over eight innings with six strikeouts.
"It was a good job," Bradley said. "I don't think they could have pitched any better than they pitched today. We battled and gave it everything we got and came up short today -- after winning [and playing] almost perfect ball for seven games in a row. ... It sucks losing after four hours, but that's baseball."
The Padres used just about everyone on their roster Friday, including 17 position players. Outfielder Scott Hairston, who earlier this week hit a game-winning home run, was sent home before the game after experiencing "flu-like symptoms," according to Black.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.