DENVER -- Have the Padres finally found their solution to their leadoff woes in Aaron Cunningham?
Cunningham had three hits and scored two runs in his first game as the leadoff hitter for the Padres in Tuesday's 7-6 victory over the Rockies.
Cunningham was back in the leadoff spot for Wednesday's series finale, going 0-for-3, and could see more time there moving forward.
The Padres entered Tuesday's game with the worst leadoff hitter batting average in the Major Leagues (.222) and the 29th-worst on-base percentage (.298).
Cunningham isn't a stranger hitting at the top of the order, though he didn't do it this season with Triple-A Portland because Luis Durango did.
"After I got drafted, I usually hit first or second, but when I got to the A's, my power started to develop and I hit more in the middle of the order," Cunningham said. "But I like hitting at the top of the lineup.
"I have a little speed, I can bunt and I feel like I can help the team there."
San Diego manager Bud Black has certainly been impressed with Cunningham, who is hitting .317 with 13 extra-base hits among his 33 hits in 104 at-bats.
"I like the way he's swinging the bat," Black said. "We've used a number of different guys [hitting leadoff]. He does some things offensively."
On Tuesday, Cunningham became the ninth different leadoff hitter the Padres have used this season.
Black cringed during Bell at-bat
DENVER -- While Padres reliever Heath Bell relished the opportunity to hit in the ninth inning of Tuesday's 7-6 victory over the Rockies, manager Bud Black essentially sat on pins and needles, obviously worrisome in the dugout.
"You always fear the worst," Black said.
Bell got a chance to hit with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth inning. The Padres dared not replace him, knowing they would need him in the bottom of the inning.
Bell worked a full count against Rockies reliever Edgmer Escalona. He took three balls and even fouled off a pitch before lining a 90-mph fastball the other way to right fielder Seth Smith for the final out of the inning.
It was Bell's first at-bat with the Padres and only his second at-bat since May 28, 2006 when he was with the Mets. Bell is 0-for-6 as a hitter in his career.
Black would just as soon like to see Bell -- who matched his career-high with his 42nd save -- stick to pitching.
Bell allowed two runs in the ninth inning, but escaped with the save when he got Eric Young to hit into a double play to end the game.
"You always worry about the freak injury with the swing, the hit-by-pitch, if he runs ... doing something to his legs," Black said.
What did Black think about Bell's at-bat?
"He took balls and swung at strikes," Black said. "He went the other way off Escalona who was throwing, what, 95 mph?"
Headley doesn't start on Wednesday
DENVER -- Padres third baseman Chase Headley, who has played the third-most innings of any player in the Major Leagues, didn't start Wednesday against the Rockies as Jerry Hairston Jr. replaced him at third base. Headley struck out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning.
Headley is hitting .158 with a .197 on-base percentage since Aug. 26. The Padres also wanted to get Hairston back in the lineup.
It was the first game at third base for Hairston since coming off the disabled list on Sept. 12. Hairston missed 14 games with a strained right elbow. He played second base on Monday and is to the point where he can now play third base.
"As we move through this, Jerry will keep improving and gain more confidence to where he feels good anywhere on the diamond," Padres manager Bud Black said.
Padres reclaim Carrillo from Phillies
DENVER -- Pitcher Cesar Carrillo's time with the Phillies was short, as short as his time away from the Padres organization was.
The Padres on Wednesday claimed Carrillo off waivers from the Phillies, 15 days after putting him on waivers and six days after the Phillies claimed him.
Carrillo, the Padres' first-round Draft pick in 2005, was 5-14 with a 5.60 ERA with Triple-A Portland this season.
The Phillies designated Carrillo on Sept. 12 in order to create a spot on their 40-man roster for infielder Brian Bocock.
The Padres designated 24-year-old pitcher Craig Italiano for assignment to create a spot for Carrillo on the 40-man roster. Italiano had 17 saves and a 2.58 ERA for Double-A San Antonio.