By Jack Etkin and Owen Perkins
Special to MLB.com |
DENVER -- The Padres arrived in Coors Field with their bats a-blazing, scoring all they needed in a five-run first and three times scoring more runs in an inning than the Rockies scored all night Monday. San Diego took the series opener, 14-3, hitting the Rockies hard in a park where they dominated the Friars in 2014.
The nine runs in the first two innings spoiled the return of Rockies southpaw Jorge De La Rosa, who opened the season on the disabled list with a left groin strain.
"The league has seen him good, especially in this park," Padres manager Bud Black said. "The thing that stood out for me was that the ball was elevated more than what we've seen from him over the years. Some balls were up out over the plate, which is non-De La Rosa-like. And our guys took advantage of it, plain and simple."
The nine runs matched a career high for De La Rosa and the two innings marked the shortest outing ever at Coors Field for the starter.
"It was just an ugly game," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "The game got away early. After that, there's not a whole lot you can do when you're down that many runs that early. Just keep competing and get to the finish line on a night like this."
Padres starter Odrisamer Despaigne offered a second strong start since taking the injured Ian Kennedy's spot in the rotation. Despaigne pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out five. He is 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA in 18 1/3 innings this season.
"I know that this is not an easy field to pitch, but I took the same approach as on any field," Despaigne said through translator and first-base coach Jose Valentine. "I just went up there and tried to make some pitches, tried to keep the ball down. The offense backed me up and made me more comfortable. The offense scored so many runs early in the game and it made my job easier."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Start me up: The Padres had the game in hand before the Rockies ever came to the plate, batting through the lineup and scoring five runs on six hits in the first frame. It was the most hits in the first inning since tallying six against San Francisco on Sept. 11, 2008, and the most runs since scoring five in Cincinnati on July 29, 2009. The big inning gave the Padres a best-in-baseball 16 first-inning runs. More >
Pitching and defense:The Padres' four-run second began when shortstop Troy Tulowitzki let Wil Myers' grounder go through his legs. Four batters later, center fielder Charlie Blackmon appeared ready to catch a drive hit by Will Middlebrooks, but the ball sailed over Blackmon's head for a two-run triple that boosted the Padres' lead to 8-0.
Mighty 'pen: Though they were called on early, with De La Rosa out after two innings, once there were five in the book, the Rockies' bullpen returned to form, throwing four shutout innings to close the game. Rockies relievers entered the game with a 2.83 ERA. More >
The way the ball bounces: Despaigne took two balls hit hard off his body in the second inning. The first, from Carlos Gonzalez, hit him in the left calf as he instinctively made a soccer-style move to stop the ball with his leg. The second, from Nick Hundley, hit him hard in the chest and resulted in an infield single.
"He took a bullet off the calf and a bullet off the chest," Black said. "When you release the ball, you're like 55 feet away. Those balls were bullets. He's a tough kid, and he came out of it fine. I saw a lot out of Despaigne."
"I think a lot of Nick Hundley. He was with us as a rookie. I've seen him grow as a player. A great teammate. A hard-nosed kid. I saw him have a girlfriend, I saw him get married, I saw him have a baby. All those things. We were together a long time. Good times and bad, and he handled everything like a man. He's legit. One of my favorites." -- Black on the former Padre, who was 2-for-3 with a walk in his first game facing the Friars
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• Despaigne got his first big league hit when he singled to right to lead off the the third inning. He had been 0-for-30 before the hit, posting the second-longest hitless streak to start a career in Padres history. Joey Hamilton holds the team record with an 0-for-57 streak from May 24, 1994, to June 3, 1995, before getting his first hit.
"Hands down that was the biggest hit of the night," Clint Barmes said.
• De La Rosa tied his career high by allowing nine runs. He did it twice before -- on May 3, 2008, while pitching for the Rockies against the Dodgers and on May 24, 2007, while pitching for the Royals against the Indians. More >
J-UP RETURNS, THEN RESTS Justin Upton was back in the Padres' lineup after missing Sunday with a strained left quad. He was 1-for-3 in the first four innings, and with a nine-run lead, Black pulled him to get him some extra rest.
"He played hard, he played his game," Black said. "The way the game played out, it made sense to get him out of there and not to take a chance that we could reaggravate that [quad]. He's in a good spot."
WHAT'S NEXT Padres: San Diego looks to keep the momentum going vs. the Rockies on Tuesday behind Brandon Morrow, who has had two strong starts without a decision to begin the season. He's thrown seven innings each time out, blanking the Giants during his first start and allowing two runs against Arizona in his follow-up.
Rockies:Tyler Matzek will make his third start of the season and second at Coors Field on Tuesday vs. the Padres. He threw the Rockies' only complete game of the season there last year, limiting the Padres to three hits on Sept. 5 in a 3-0 win.