Gonzalez belts 20th HR as Pads top Rox
Adrian Gonzalez may be on a torrid home run pace, but even he isn't that impressed with his totals.
"I'll see where the numbers are at the end of the year because May means nothing," he said.
Gonzalez hit his major-league leading 20th home run, Chad Gaudin struck out a season-high nine and the San Diego Padres beat the Colorado Rockies 5-2 on Sunday.
Brad Hawpe and Yorvit Torrealba had two hits each for Colorado, which lost for the first time under interim manager Jim Tracy, who replaced the fired Clint Hurdle on Friday.
Gonzalez's 20 home runs by June 1 are the most in franchise history. The previous record was 17 by Greg Vaughn in 1988 and Nate Colbert in 1970.
"What he does at the plate is very impressive. It doesn't surprise me," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "I've seen it too often."
Scott Hairston also homered and Heath Bell recorded his 15th save in 16 chances for the Padres, who salvaged the final game of the three-game series.
Gonzalez and Hairston backed up a strong pitching performance from their starter. Gaudin (2-3) struck out eight through four innings before running into trouble in the fifth. He allowed consecutive one-out singles to Troy Tulowitzki and Torrealba, but pinch-hitter Seth Smith looked at strike three and Tulowitzki was caught stealing at third to end the inning.
Black and Gaudin agreed that was a turning point in the game.
"At that time it's 4-0," Black said. "In this park, 4-0 is like 1-0."
Gaudin allowed two runs on seven hits and didn't walk a batter in 6 2-3 innings.
"I was locating my fastball and getting ahead of hitters," said Gaudin, whose career high in strikeouts is 11. "When you do that it allows you to expand the zone and get guys to chase."
Gaudin didn't walk a batter for the first time in seven starts this year.
"You could tell right from the first two batters the fastball had some life to it," Black said. "A lot of times when you have life you might not have the command, but he had the command and the life."
Colorado starter Jorge De La Rosa (0-6) gave up four runs on six hits in five innings. He struck out five and walked three.
"He elevated fastballs," Tracy said.
The game was scoreless until the third. With one out, Tony Gwynn Jr. singled to left and David Eckstein doubled down the right-field line to put runners on second and third. Gonzalez then drove De La Rosa's 0-2 fastball over the 390-foot sign in left to give the Padres a 3-0.
"He was trying to throw a fastball up," Gonzalez said. "I was able to get on top of it. I was able to stay behind it and hit a home run."
They made it 4-0 in the fifth when Kevin Kouzmanoff's two-out double off the left-field wall scored Hairston, but the Rockies escaped further damage when Gonzalez was thrown out at home trying to score from first.
Hairston led off the seventh with his seventh homer to make it 5-0.
The Rockies broke through in the bottom of the inning. Garrett Atkins and Hawpe led off with singles, and Atkins moved to third on Ian Stewart's fly out to right. Hairston dropped Tulowitzki's routine fly to center, allowing Atkins to score from third, and Yorvit Torrealba singled to drive in Hawpe and make it 5-2.
Greg Burke relieved Gaudin and got the last two outs to end the rally.
"We haven't swept a series this year and that would have been nice to do," Rockies first baseman Todd Helton said. "That pitcher threw the ball really well today. He was locating his pitches and he didn't give us too much to hit. I was very impressed by the way he threw the ball today."
Notes: Gonzalez reached the 20 home run mark in 50 games. Last year he hit his 20th home run in 73 games on his way to a career-high 36 homers. .... Gonzalez leads the majors with 15 road homers. ... Black said RHP Jake Peavy (right ankle tendinitis) will make his scheduled start Tuesday against Philadelphia.