Morneau's walk-off blast lifts Rox over pesky Padres

Hawkins blows save in ninth before veteran hits two-run homer in 10th

Morneau's walk-off blast lifts Rox over pesky Padres

DENVER -- Long before Justin Morneau delivered the loudest and most important noise Sunday -- a two-run, two-out homer in the bottom of the 10th for an 8-6 walk-off victory over the Padres -- a quiet manager raised his voice, and the Rockies listened.

The Rockies are known for blowout victories at home. Their last homestand included five wins by an average of 7.4 runs. But they have to win tough games, as well. On Sunday, they needed a little of everything, including the third triple play in Rockies history, to win the game and the three-game series with the Padres, in front of 44,092 at Coors Field.

The Rockies (25-20), who are second in the National League West and face the first-place Giants (28-17) on Tuesday a Coors to start a three-game set, have won all seven home series. But before gritting out a victory, they needed a charge from manager Walt Weiss, who loudly corrected his club early in the game.

"Walt was a little fired up at the beginning of that game today -- we had some bad at-bats, kind of gave some at-bats away the first time through the lineup," said Morneau, who had one of the quick groundouts in the second inning, but finished the day with his ninth homer of the season and sixth career walk-off.

"He doesn't say much very often, but he was a little loud there."

The fact that Weiss lit into his team may shock fans, who have seen Weiss never get himself thrown out of a game and give 100 percent of his interviews with the same complete composure. But Weiss played with fire, has a history of mixed martial arts training, and is anything but milquetoast. Weiss provided extra fire, and the team used every bit of it Sunday.

"Sometimes when you get in those funks you lose focus a little bit, sometimes make excuses for yourself and for each other, and he [Weiss] got fired up," said DJ LeMahieu, who went 3-for-4. "I know I fed off that, and I think our team did."

The Rockies benefitted from Corey Dickerson's fifth homer of the year, for two runs in a four-run third against Padres starter Donn Roach; Troy Tulowizki's 13th homer of the season to lead off the fifth, against Tim Stauffer; and Carlos Gonzalez's key RBI single in the seventh for a 6-4 lead. It seemed as if the Rockies were going to succeed by staying a step or two ahead of the Padres.

But when Everth Cabrera tied the game with a two-run homer in the top of the ninth off LaTroy Hawkins, who suffered his first blown save in 11 chances, the Rockies needed to reach for a little more. Nick Masset (1-0) put down the top of the 10th for his first win since 2011, Gonzalez pulled a single through a shifted defense and Morneau went deep against Dale Thayer (2-2) with the count full.

"It was a tough win," Weiss said. "I felt like we were going to put that game away, and when Cabrera hits a two-run homer, the wind goes out of your sails a little bit at that point. But give credit to the guys for finding a way to win that game."

Rockies starter Juan Nicasio gave up a homer to dead center to Seth Smith in the first, and basically spent the rest of his six innings staying just ahead of the Padres. He gave up nine hits and four runs, the last a Will Venable solo shot with two out in the sixth, but left with a 5-4 lead.

Nicasio seemed in trouble in the third, with runners at first and second, but Carlos Quentin grounded to third baseman Nolan Arenado, who stepped on third to begin the around-the-horn triple play. Quentin beat LeMahieu's throw to first, but was ruled out because Smith interfered at second by sliding out of the basepath and hooking LeMahieu's right foot.

"That was different from anything I've ever seen," said Morneau, who was involved in a triple play with the Twins in 2006. "But I saw the replay. It's very rare that it gets called, but it looks like he actually grabbed his foot with his arm."

The Rockies' other triple plays occurred on April 4, 2010 against the Cardinals -- one executed by first baseman Todd Helton and shortstop Jose Hernandez -- and an unassisted triple play by Tulowizki on April 29, 2007 against the Braves. All occurred at Coors.

Masset received his first win since Sept. 15, 2011 for the Reds against the Cubs before a shoulder injury and thoracic outlet syndrome kept him out of the Majors until he made his Rockies debut on May 5.

Sunday also was the back end of Masset's first back-to-back days in games. The Rockies needed him after Cabrera grabbed the momentum for the Padres, and he needed just five pitches in the 10h.

"That's my job as a pitcher, to get a quick three outs, and luckily it happened real quick," Masset said.

Thayer's fastball to Morneau on the game-winning at-bat was low, and at first Thayer didn't think it was the last pitch of the game."

"He hit it hard," Thayer said. "I just didn't think it was high enough."

Morneau was happy to bring an end to a day that started with the Rockies playing badly enough to make their manager scream.

"That shows a lot about the resiliency of this team," Morneau said. "To come up with the big hit and see everybody at home plate, that makes it fun."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.