Rutledge's slam leads comeback, but Rox fall

Rutledge's slam leads comeback, but Rox fall

Rutledge's slam leads comeback, but Rox fall
SAN DIEGO -- To say that the Rockies' 12-11 defeat of the Padres Sunday was unpredictable would be a bit of an understatement.

To start, if you had picked two guys to homer for the Rockies at Petco Park, it probably wouldn't have been Alex White, Colorado's starting pitcher, or first baseman Matt McBride, who has six hits -- no homers -- in just 35 big-league plate appearances.

And yet, it was White and McBride who homered in the second and third innings, respectively, to provide the Rockies with all their offensive production in the first seven innings. The homer was White's second of his career -- and second in his last two games.

Or, for example, after 11 2/3 innings of scoreless ball in the first two games of the series, you might not have expected the Colorado bullpen to give up eight runs in just one frame -- or more specifically, 1/3 of a frame -- Sunday.

And yet, that's precisely what happened in the fifth when Adam Ottavino and Matt Reynolds saw a two-run lead with two outs in the fifth turn into a six-run deficit before the inning's end. Ottavino was charged with seven of those runs on six Padres' hits, while Reynolds was charged with one -- scored by Chase Headley on his 28th home run of the year, the final run of the fateful fifth.

Those eight runs were the most scored by a Colorado opponent in an inning this year, and the outburst lifted Ottavino's ERA from 3.56 to 4.38.

"He has been money for quite a while, up until today," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said of Ottavino. "Today he didn't have it."

"It just wasn't my day," Ottavino said. "Probably made some bad pitch choices along the way. In general it just wasn't my day. Even the good pitches I made got hit hard."

Still, given the Rockies' five runs in three innings off Padres' starter Andrew Werner, one could have expected Colorado to climb its way right back into the game off the rookie left-hander.

Wrong again, as after McBride's homer with two down in the third, the Rockies didn't get another hit off Werner through the fifth. He struck out four straight at one point, giving up a total of five runs on seven hits.

The San Diego bullpen shut Colorado down into the eighth when the Rockies, down six and without a hit since that third inning, seemed all but dead.

But the unexpected struck again, this time courtesy of the Rockies' bats -- and a little help from the Padres' bullpen.

Colorado took advantage of two walks (one drawn by Dexter Fowler with the bases loaded), a hit-by-pitch, and an error to cut the deficit to four and load the bases for shortstop Josh Rutledge.

Rutledge, who had never hit a grand slam in his Major League career, did -- and a game-tying one no less -- rocketing a Nick Vincent cutter over the left field fence to cap the monumental comeback for the Rockies.

"Every guy that stepped to the plate was trying to have good at-bats, and we strung some runs together," said Rutledge.

An inning later, Colorado might have expected to strike again with runners at first and second and Wilin Rosario as a pinch hitter at the plate. But Luke Gregerson got Rosario to strike out before Joe Thatcher came on and did the same to pinch-hitter Jason Giambi and Charlie Blackmon to disappoint any Rockies' hopes of regaining the lead.

And who could've predicted that, after all those hits, homers, and runs the Rockies' demise would come courtesy of a balk.

In part, anyway. With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Everth Cabrera singled to put the winning run on base for San Diego. After Matt Belisle got Logan Forsythe to pop out to second to get the Rockies an out away from extras, he balked Cabrera to second. That left a base open, a base Tracy opted to fill with the red-hot Headley, and gave Yonder Alonso -- who already had three hits on the day -- a chance.

Alonso delivered, clubbing a game-winning single to left field to cap a 4-for-5 day and send the Rockies to their 10th loss in their last 13 games.

Another interesting twist to the Rockies story was that All-Star outfielder Carlos Gonzalez came out of the game in the sixth inning with a tight left hamstring, a pain he said he first felt on his first-inning double, and then felt worsen throughout the game.

"As that game unfolded and we got back in it, an at-bat or two more from CarGo helps to change the dynamics," Tracy said. "But when you've got a tight hamstring, you can't mess with that."

All told, the teams combined for 23 runs and 27 hits, an unexpected feat at spacious Petco.

"You can definitely tell the difference between a day game and a night game," Rutledge said of yet another Padres/Rockies game that made Petco look more like Coors Field.

Still, for as well as the ball was carrying, it was a few too many rallies when rallies aren't generally anticipated -- with two outs -- that Tracy said did in his club on Sunday.

"They scored 12, and I know for a fact nine of them were after two were out. The game-winning hit? Two-out base hit. When they had their eight-run inning? That all came with two outs," Tracy said. "Those type of situations are very difficult to deal with. We got back into the game. They got a big hit."

Chelsea Janes is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.