Published November 20, 2014
The Colorado Rockies finally got their offense rolling. Now their bullpen is struggling.
The Rockies jumped all over San Diego starter Aaron Harang to take a six-run lead into the seventh inning, but the relievers couldn't hold it. The Padres rallied for eight runs in the final three innings, capped by Brad Hawpe's two-run homer in the ninth, for a 9-7 win Saturday.
"Teams don't beat you, you lose when you have a six-run lead," catcher Chris Iannetta said. "If you have a six-run lead, you give the game away."
Huston Street (0-1) took the loss for the Rockies, who are 3-9 in May after starting the season 17-8.
Colorado's dormant bats have been a big reason for the May slide, but in two games against the Padres they've pounded out 25 hits and scored 19 runs. It should have been enough for a pair of wins, but the Rockies' pitching fell apart in the last three innings.
"The last couple of days, we're showing major signs of gaining a lot of offensive traction," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "Just when you think you've got that part of it going, you have a breakdown at the back end of the game. We did everything we needed to do leading into the seventh inning and then we didn't do what we needed to do."
The Rockies took a 4-1 lead with a four-run third, highlighted by Troy Tulowitzki's two-run double and Todd Helton's solo homer.
Carlos Gonzalez hit a solo homer in the fourth, and they added two more in the fifth to take a 7-1 lead.
It looked like enough for starter Jhoulys Chacin, who had retired 14 of 15 batters heading into the seventh. That's when he ran into trouble.
Chacin walked Cameron Maybin to lead off the seventh, Ryan Ludwick singled and Kyle Phillips walked to load the bases. Eric Patterson hit a comebacker off Chacin's glove, and the starter threw wildly to first, scoring two runners.
Matt Lindstrom came on in relief and allowed an RBI single and a sacrifice fly to make it 7-5.
"I really didn't understand the 3-2 slider to Maybin to start the seventh inning," Tracy said. "I really didn't understand that with a six-run lead."
Iannetta took the blame for the pitch.
"At 3-2 to Maybin, I should have never let him throw a breaking ball with a six-run lead," he said. "I should have never let that happen. You've got to throw a fastball there and make him hit his way on."
The Padres tied it in the eighth off setup man Rafael Betancourt. Hawpe and Maybin singled to start the inning, Ludwick knocked in the first run with a sacrifice fly and Patterson's single up the middle tied the game.
Street came on in the ninth and gave up a leadoff double to Will Venable. It appeared Colorado would get out of the inning when Venable was thrown out at the plate on Jorge Cantu's grounder to third, but Hawpe hit a 2-2 changeup into the second deck to shock his former team.
"It was on the corner, but it was up," Street said. "I was trying to bury it in the dirt. I thought I had him set up for it. It's frustrating."
Especially with the bats coming to life.
"Just when you think you've got that part of it going, you have a breakdown at the back end of the game," Tracy said. "We had our three best relievers out there in the final three innings of the game and they managed to nick every single one of them. The game is a vicious cycle."
Notes: Helton's homer was the 338th of his career and tied him with Don Baylor for 89th all-time. Tino Martinez, Dave Parker and Boog Powell (339) are tied for 86th and Jack Clark (340) is 85th. ... Padres 3B Chase Headley left in the bottom of the fourth with a slight sprain of his right ankle. He appeared to hurt the ankle trying to field Wigginton's grounder in the second. ... Rockies CF Dexter Fowler was back in the lineup after being limited to pinch-hit duties the past two games because he fouled a ball off his left knee Tuesday.