Venable, bullpen fill in for Stauffer
Outfielder hits 12th home run; Webb gets first career victory
DENVER -- Ian Stewart had no sooner dropped his bat and trotted toward first base when Padres manager Bud Black bolted from the dugout on Wednesday for what essentially was a candid and very one-sided conversation with his starting pitcher.
Staked to a two-run lead, Tim Stauffer opened the second inning with two walks, sending Black on nearly a dead sprint to the mound. Call it a teaching moment or even tough love ... whatever you like. Black, wagging his finger, got his point across.
"I just had to establish some things with Tim," said Black, who refused to elaborate what he said to Stauffer, though it's safe to say it wasn't a commentary on the chilly conditions at Coors Field.
Stauffer pitched better after that point, until running out of gas in the fifth inning, though the Padres (70-83) pushed ahead for a 6-3 victory over the Rockies before a crowd of 29,597 on a night when temperatures dipped into the mid-40s.
But the iciest of receptions was reserved for Stauffer, who didn't allow a single hit until the fifth inning, though he pitched better after walking four in the first two innings alone.
"It was ... 'bear down, make pitches and get out of this,'" Stauffer said, summarizing the visit with Black. "He got me out of whatever funk I was in."
Stauffer, despite taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning, could only get two outs and had to be saved by rookie Ryan Webb (1-0), who earned his first Major League victory with one scoreless inning.
Really, the bullpen, including closer Heath Bell, who earned his 40th save, picked up the pieces after Stauffer left the game. The Padres' offense contributed some timely hits like Will Venable's two-out, three-run double in the fifth inning.
Venable, who in the second inning hit a home run off Rockies pitcher Jason Marquis, got an eyeful of what Marquis was trying to do to Chase Headley in the fifth inning just prior to his at-bat, as Headley battled Marquis for 10 pitches before striking out.
"In that situation, I think [the Headley strikeout] picks [Marquis] up, he thinks 'that's the big out, now I'm one out away from escaping this," Black said. "Then Will gets that hit ... it's demoralizing."
Venable said that during the Headley at-bat that he was able to watch the progression of pitches Marquis, a 15-game winner, was trying to make. Venable told himself that that he had to stay back and be patient for a pitch he could drive. He got one.
"I just wasn't getting ahead," Marquis said. "If I'm getting ahead, it really doesn't matter what the other team's hitters are doing."
Headley, surprised to see reporters standing in front of his locker following an 0-for-5 game, said he was happy to hear that his teammate might have benefited even a little from that strikeout.
"Do I get half an RBI?" Headley joked. "If that helped him out at all, that's great. But if you have a lineup with seven or eight tough outs, that wears on a pitcher. Maybe that is what happened."
For the second time in as many nights, the Padres roughed up a 15-game winner from the Rockies (86-66). On Tuesday, it was Jorge De La Rosa, who allowed six runs in 2 1/3 innings. It was Marquis on Wednesday, who allowed five earned runs with five walks over his 4 2/3 innings.
Webb got the last out of the fifth inning and two outs in the sixth inning. Left-hander Joe Thatcher allowed a run in his one frame of work, though he got a big strikeout of Seth Smith to end the sixth.
Mike Adams, one of the most reliable setup pitchers in the league before he missed 23 games with a strained right shoulder, got the last two outs of the seventh inning and also pitched a scoreless eighth inning with little drama.
Finally, Bell allowed one hit with one strikeout in the ninth inning for his 40th save.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.