Bats come alive for Padres in win
Strong ninth frame helps end losing streak at eight games
DENVER -- There was nothing sly or subtle about the way the Padres went about pulling out of their eight-game skid on Monday, not with the way that their slumbering bats awoke in a blaze of runs and hits that tested the circuitry of the Coors Field scoreboard.
No, it was hard to ignore the way that the Padres left the shell-shocked Rockies looking for a dimmer switch, or at least a relief pitcher that could stem the flow of runs in the last four innings of a game that started badly for San Diego, but ended with an improbable victory.
But in the end, it probably mattered little to the Padres as to how they went about ending their longest losing funk of the season, though the 15 runs and 22 hits they amassed in a 15-8 victory over the Rockies before a crowd of 43,248 certainly will not go unnoticed.
"It's a relief," said Padres second baseman Edgar Gonzalez, who enjoyed a career night at the plate. "We had eight in a row where we struggled to score. I guess that we erupted today."
"Erupted" is right, and it could not have happened sooner for a team that had scored 16 runs in its previous seven games, all losses to American League teams. But back to playing in the mediocre National League West Division, the Padres embraced a familiar foe and hammered the Rockies in the first of three games.
The Padres (33-52) scored 12 runs over the final four innings alone to erase what was an early deficit as well as a forgettable start by veteran Greg Maddux, who had long since departed by the time this game turned one-sided.
It wasn't nearly as easy as it might appear, as the Padres strung together two big innings -- they scored five runs in the sixth inning and then, in the ninth inning, seven runs to put this game away.
Not such a bad 51st birthday for Padres manager Bud Black, who joked before the game about "throwing 10 runs up there."
"The thing I liked was we fought back from two deficits," Black said. "That's what I'm proud of these guys for. They have not given into this the last three weeks. It's just one game, but hopefully it can propel us into tomorrow."
A nice thought, certainly, though replicating Monday's results -- every Padres starter had at least one hit and the team hit four home runs -- might be hard to pull off.
Edgar Gonzalez upstaged little brother Adrian with a career-high four hits in addition to a career-high two home runs, one coming in that ninth inning that also saw Jody Gerut drill a three-run home run.
Gonzalez, who is now hitting .325 in place of an injured Tadahito Iguchi at second base, hit a home run in the first inning as well and added two singles. Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a home run and had three hits, extending his career-high hit streak to 10 games.
"There's been a lot of firsts for Edgar this year," Black said. "I'm happy for him. He's been a bright spot for us."
Brian Giles had four hits to raise his average to .308 while Gerut, Michael Barrett, Adrian Gonzalez and Khalil Greene each had two hits to fuel the largest offensive outburst -- in terms of runs and hits -- of the season.
Oddly enough, it was the slightest of hits in the ninth inning that proved as important, if not more so, than any ball that sliced through the thin Rocky Mountain air and ended up as souvenirs.
Adrian Gonzalez and Kouzmanoff started the ninth inning with singles off closer Brian Fuentes. Chase Headley then sent Gonzalez to third base when he reached on a fielder's choice. Greene then rolled a ball past the mound that Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki couldn't handle as the go-ahead run scored.
That was the beginning of the end for the Rockies and the start of a bountiful inning for the Padres, who have enjoyed few innings like the ones they had in the sixth inning and ninth inning.
The way that the game began on Monday, it appeared the Padres would need every little run that they could manage against the Rockies (32-51), who are now in an eight-game skid of their own.
Part of that had to go with Maddux's rough start, as the 42-year-old allowed a three-run double to Chris Iannetta in the first inning and later a monster 475-foot, three-run home run to Brad Hawpe in the third inning as Colorado built an 8-3 lead.
"I just never really got in the flow of the game," Maddux said. "... I struggled in every inning. I stunk pretty good."
The Padres' bullpen bailed him out, especially reliever Mike Adams, who needed just 30 pitches to record six outs in the sixth and seventh innings before handing the ball over to Heath Bell. All told, the Padres' bullpen combined for 4 1/3 scoreless innings, with just one hit allowed.
"You can pat a lot of guys on the back. Mike is at the front of the line," Black said of Adams. "He did a great job to hold them there and get the ball to Heath."
The rest, oddly enough, was left up to the offense that delivered in a big way during the ninth inning, running away from not only the Rockies but a losing skid that had its start during a miserable 3-15 run in Interleague Play.
"It feels good to win and get that streak over," Edgar Gonzalez said.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.