Barmes comes up big with veteran approach

Padres shortstop hits go-ahead HR after Murphy passes on bunt

Barmes comes up big with veteran approach

SAN DIEGO -- At 36 years and 134 days old, Clint Barmes has been around long enough to know when to push ahead and when to pull back.

In the eighth inning of the Padres' 5-4 win over the Rockies, Barmes jumped on a fastball from reliever Tommy Kahnle, pulling a screamer nearly into the visiting dugout.

Anxious and excited, batting in a tied game with a runner on first base, Barmes stepped out of the box, took a deep breath and gathered himself before proceeding with the at-bat.

"It was backing off and not trying to do too much," he said afterwards.

Instead, the Padres' shortstop actually did a lot, hitting a two-run home run to help San Diego run its win streak to four, tying their season high.

The funny thing is, Barmes almost didn't get the chance to swing away in the eighth inning after Melvin Upton Jr. walked to start the inning.

Interim manager Pat Murphy was prepared to ask Barmes to get a bunt down, sending Upton to second base and getting him in scoring position in a 3-3 game.

"[Bench coach Dave Roberts] and I discussed it back and forth," said Murphy. "At the last minute, Doc gave me some information that changed my mind."

Which was what?

"I'm not going to let the Rockies know that," Murphy said, smiling. "… But credit Doc Roberts."

Murphy discusses the Padres' win

Barmes admitted even he was a little stunned that he wasn't asked to get a bunt down -- though he certainly didn't question it.

"Honestly, I was walking to the plate expecting to get a bunt sign. When I didn't get it, I pulled a ball, looking for a heater, toward their dugout," he said.

"Fortunately, I was able to get something off-speed [change-up] that was elevated and was able to get extended. That's all I was trying to do at that point.

"But I was ready to get a bunt down."

Barmes raised his average to .284 and also made several nice plays in the field. He'll likely get most of the starts moving forward in the second half at shortstop, as the team has essentially moved Alexi Amarista to more of a utility role.

This suits Barmes, in his 13th Major League season, just fine.

"This is a big reason why I wanted to come over here instead of going back to Pittsburgh," said Barmes, who signed a one-year free agent deal with the Padres last winter.

"It was the opportunity to get more at-bats and more playing time. I couldn't be happier with where I'm at, at this point. I'm excited for the second half."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.