DENVER -- Pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso delivered a bases-loaded single over a five-man, drawn-in infield with one out in the bottom of the ninth as the Rockies ended their losing streak at five games, edging the Padres, 5-4, at Coors Field on Wednesday night.
Corey Dickerson homered twice, in the first off Padres starter James Shields and in the eighth off Joaquin Benoit to tie it at 4. The Rockies loaded the bases in the ninth against Shawn Kelley (0-2) to set up Descalso, a former Cardinal who signed a two-year, $3.6 million contract during the offseason for veteran know-how off the bench.
"As a bench player, I'm trying to think along with [manager] Walt [Weiss], watch the game and try to find ways how I'm going to get into this ballgame," said Descalso, whose hit made a winner of Adam Ottavino (1-0), who threw a spotless top of the ninth. "I knew that if we got a couple of guys on in the ninth inning, I was going to get a chance."
The Padres nearly won their fourth straight. Derek Norris and Cory Spangenberg doubled in seventh-inning runs for a 4-3 lead. It could've been 6-3 had Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, who missed the previous two games with a sore left wrist, not made a diving stop of Wil Myers' grounder with two out and runners at second and third to end the inning.
"Their third baseman was outstanding tonight as always," Padres manager Bud Black said of Arenado. "He's arguably the best in the game -- the best that I've seen in a long time. He's an outstanding defensive player." More >
Rockies starter Kyle Kendrick threw seven innings -- marking the first time a Rockies starter had lasted that long since Kendrick on Opening Day -- and gave up four runs on seven hits, with three strikeouts to one walk. Kendrick had struggled with walks in losing his previous two outings.
"It's tough if you don't know what you're doing -- I knew what I was doing, I was behind in the count," said Kendrick, who needed 10 pitches to retire Myers to open the first, but needed just 76 more pitches to go through seven. "Tonight, I felt I was ahead a lot in the count."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Welcome back: Dickerson left Monday's game with a plantar fasciitis flareup. It's an injury he has little choice but to play through and hope it gets better. Well, on the first pitch he saw from Shields, he demonstrated he was OK, with a home run over the center-field wall. Dickerson later delivered the game-tying blast. More >
Arenado, who missed the previous two games with a sore left wrist, delivered an RBI double for a 2-1 first-inning lead. Arenado made four strong defensive plays, and started the ninth-inning rally with a single.
"Plugging those two guys back in the lineup impacts us tremendously -- 'Dickie' with the two homers, but Nolan with the game-changing defense," Weiss said.
Solo Solarte: Fresh off his pinch-hit, run-scoring single in the eighth Tuesday, Solarte drove an 0-1 offering over the right-field fence in the first to give the Padres a 1-0 lead Wednesday. Solarte started in place of the slumping Jedd Gyorko. "He's hitting," Black said before the game. "And Jedd is not."
Pinch me: Spangenberg has big pinch-hits in the past two games of the series. He hit a ground-rule double to center in the seventh Tuesday and eventually scored in a 7-6 win. He hit for Shields on Wednesday night in the seventh with two out and two on, doubling to left for a 4-3 Padres lead.
"We think a lot of Spangy with the bat," Black said. "He's hit wherever he's been, so that doesn't surprise us when he gets his hits, even though his average is down."
Executing in the ninth: The Rockies looked as if they'd lose the game with their baserunning and with Padres catcher Norris' throwing. Norris erased DJ LeMahieu on a steal attempt of third with no outs in the second. In the seventh, Rockies catcher Michael McKenry was thrown out at third on a LeMahieu grounder to first baseman Yonder Alonso. Norris blocked a pitch and threw out Rafael Ynoa trying to advance to second to end the seventh.
But in the ninth, singles by Arenado and KcKenry and a one-out intentional walk to LeMahieu set up Descalso, who simply could not afford to hit along the ground. He lofted it between the outfielders.
"The versatility, the experience, the fact that he's been a winning player, they're all reasons why we brought him in," Weiss said.
"I was a little more relieved knowing my son's at home right now, instead of in the hospital. He's in a little bit better of a place. I felt real good." -- Rockies reliever John Axford, who threw a spotless, nine-pitch eighth with one strikeout the day he was activated. He has been away from the team while tending to his 2 1/2-year-old son, Jameson, who was bitten twice on the right foot by a rattlesnake while the family was in Arizona for Spring Training
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
In the bottom of the ninth, down by one with the bases loaded and one out, Black brought center fielder Myers in to first, shifted Alonso toward second and moved second baseman Solarte right beside the bag, using a five-man infield in hopes of a double-play grounder or at least a force out at the plate. Alonso and Myers were going to switch gloves, but Myers apparently wasn't comfortable with the first baseman's mitt and kept his own. The umpire informed Alonso that per rule 1.13 and 1.14, a first baseman's mitt did not meet the specifications that any player other than the first baseman or the catcher must abide by.
"When you're off first base, you have to use a fielder's glove and not a first baseman's mitt," Black said.
PADRES SEEK RARE SERIES WIN AT COORS
The Rockies will be trying to gain a split, while the Padres will be trying to win just their second four-game series at Coors Field since it opened in 1995. They won three of four July 10-13, 1997.
Padres:The Friars will throw Tyson Ross, who is 1-0 with a 4.08 ERA through his first three starts. He pitched a pair of six-inning quality starts to open the season, then lasted 5 2/3 innings Saturday in Chicago, allowing three runs on five hits while striking out nine. San Diego has not won a series in Colorado since July 1, 2012. Game time Thursday is 12:10 p.m. PT.
Rockies: Right-hander Jordan Lyles has gone six innings each of his three starts, and believes some small mechanical issues have caused some walks that prevented him from going deeper. Having worked on those in his side session, Lyles will try to put the improvements into action Thursday at 1:10 p.m. MT.