Six-run inning helps Geer win first
Righty allows two runs in five innings in big league debut
SAN DIEGO -- There was a small part of Josh Geer, miniscule as it might have been, that actually felt bad for Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez on Saturday when he lost control of his command at the most inopportune time.
Not that Geer is heartless, but the rookie pitcher was making his Major League debut, after all, and was in no position to take pity on anyone at PETCO Park because, as he knows, even having never pitched at this level, that no one would pity him.
So Geer watched and watched and watched and watched, as Jimenez misfired with four consecutive pitches, which allowed the rookie to walk with the bases loaded, forcing in the go-ahead run in the fourth inning in what became a 9-4 victory by the Padres over the Rockies.
Geer had his first Major League RBI and then later his first victory, although he certainly understood what Jimenez, who walked four batters in that fateful fourth inning alone, was going through.
"I know what that feels like," Geer said. "You try and calm down and groove it in there for strikes, but that doesn't work. I've had that happen to me a couple of times. It gets in your head."
Another reason Geer (1-0) had no room for remorse over Jimenez's conundrum Saturday was that he, only two innings earlier, was facing his own predicament when he allowed consecutive singles to Clint Barmes and Willy Taveras.
Not exactly the way Geer, recalled Friday from Triple-A Portland, wanted to get started.
"My adrenaline was pumping early," Geer said. "Early on, I was nitpicking. And with my adrenaline pumping, I was just trying to fire the ball in there."
With two runners on, Geer got Matt Holliday to ground a ball back to the mound for the first out. Geer then struck out Brad Hawpe and Garrett Atkins, who drove in five runs just one day earlier, to end the inning.
Out in center field, fellow rookie Will Venable probably smiled. Venable said that he's watched Geer work out of similar situations when the two were teammates in Portland, and to this day, can't seem to figure out how it happens.
"I don't know how he does it," Venable said. "The whole year he's gotten out of trouble really well. I've been saying that all year. He located well and doesn't give them a lot to hit."
San Diego manager Bud Black was equally impressed with Geer on Saturday.
"I saw a guy who carried himself well in Spring Training," Black said. "He showed in the first how he didn't back down. That was a great sign."
Geer allowed two runs in the second inning but nothing else in his five innings. He might have remained in the game longer, but a high pitch-count -- and not the Rockies (64-73) -- drove him to the showers after 105 pitches.
Jimenez (9-12) didn't last nearly as long, though he was cruising along before the fourth inning, having retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced with one walk. But the 24-year-old came unraveled in the fourth inning, as the Padres parlayed timely hitting with Jimenez's control troubles.
Luis Rodriguez doubled to the wall in right-center field for San Diego's first hit. Jimenez then got Kevin Kouzmanoff to pop out in foul territory before walking Adrian Gonzalez and Chase Headley to load the bases.
The walk to Headley came after the Padres' left fielder fell behind before coaxing a walk during a seven-pitch at-bat. Venable, in his second start, lined a single up the middle to score a run.
Edgar Gonzalez followed by bouncing a ball to shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who flipped the ball to Clint Barmes at second base for the forceout. But Barmes was unable to get a throw off to first base as Venable's hard but clean slide didn't leave the field in a position to unload the ball as the tying run scored.
"That's the way they teach us how to play," Venable said of the slide. "That's pretty much all I'm thinking. I want to get down there as soon as possible and break it up."
That play proved pivotal, as Jimenez walked the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters, Nick Hundley and Geer. Glendon Rusch, the former Padres pitcher, came into the came and promptly allowed a two-run single to Brian Giles.
Finally, Rodriguez, who started the inning with a hit, singled in the sixth run of the inning to complete the scoring and also complete the book on Jimenez, who was charged with all six earned runs.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.