Rockies escape against Padres at home
Colorado Rockies manager Jim Tracy settled into his chair for his post-game news conference and took a deep breath.
"That was interesting," he declared.
From start to finish, it was a wild, wacky night at Coors Field.
Brad Hawpe homered for the first time since Aug. 29 and the Rockies beat San Diego 11-10 on Tuesday night despite a rare rough outing from lefty Jorge De La Rosa and a four-run ninth-inning rally by the Padres.
After allowing two bloop singles that plated four runs and putt the tying run at third base and the go-ahead run at first, Franklin Morales secured his seventh save in eight chances when pinch-hitter Nick Hundley hit an absolute rope that appeared to be heading over left fielder Seth Smith's head before settling into his glove.
"Nick hit that ball right on the screws," Padres manager Bud Black said. "And it was right at him."
"That's baseball, we got lucky," said Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. "Sometimes you hit bloops and they fall in and sometimes you hit it as well as you can and it's an out."
Tracy, for one, thought the Padres had just gone ahead when the ball came smoking off Hundley's bat.
"You can't square a ball much better than that, I can promise you that," Tracy said. "I saw Seth either freeze or just take a tiny step forward and the way that ball was hit and came off the bat, I thought it maybe had a chance of going over his head. I really did. I'm glad it didn't."
If the ball sails over Smith's head as just about everybody left in the ballpark envisioned, the Padres would have grabbed the lead.
"I thought it might have a chance to get past him," Hundley said. "I looked for (speedy pinch-runner) Luis Durango when the ball was caught and he was rounding third. He would have scored. He can score from first base on a single."
The Rockies increased their NL lead in the NL wild-card race to five games over San Francisco and Atlanta.
And they did it in frantic fashion.
The Rockies scored every way imaginable: on an inside-the-park homer by Clint Barmes, a balk and twice on wild pitches, and they needed every bit of that wacky production to go with their routine run-scoring hits, including Hawpe's opposite-field shot that barely cleared the wall.
In a cold, steady drizzle, Morales came on in the ninth with two outs and the bases loaded courtesy of Juan Rincon's wildness, trying to protect an 11-6 lead. He surrendered a two-run single to Adrian Gonzalez, walked Chase Headley and gave up a two-run single to Oscar Salazar to make it 11-10.
"Franklin Morales really shouldn't have had to pitch tonight," Tracy insisted.
After securing the save, Morales learned Huston Street was going to reclaim the closer role after retiring the only two batters he faced in his first appearance since returning from biceps tendinitis.
"When I handed (Tracy) the ball, he said, 'You convinced me,"' Street recounted.
While Morales hung his head in the clubhouse after the close call, Street walked past and told him, "We won, that's all that matters. That's all that matters."
Morales shook his head in agreement.
Troy Tulowitzki's RBI single off Cesar Ramos (0-1) broke a 6-6 tie in the fourth and made a winner of Matt Belisle (2-1), the first of seven relievers.
Belisle allowed two hits in three scoreless innings as the Rockies began a nine-game homestand with their eighth straight win at Coors Field, where they're 39-14 since Tracy took over as manager in late May.
De La Rosa was tagged for six runs on six hits and three walks in just 2 1-3 innings. It was a stunningly poor performance by the left-hander who leads the majors with 15 wins since June 1 and who had allowed just three earned runs in 26 innings this month, compiling a 1.04 ERA while going 3-0.
The Padres loaded the bases off De La Rosa in the third on two walks and a single by Adrian Gonzalez before Edgar Gonzalez tripled them all home, then scored on Henry Blanco's single.
That was it for De La Rosa, who was replaced by Belisle. The Rockies quickly got De La Rosa off the hook for the loss on Barmes' RBI single in the bottom of the inning.
After Tulowitzki's single broke the tie, the Rockies made it 8-6 in the sixth inning when Dexter Fowler scored from third on Luis Perdomo's wild pitch.
An inning later, Barmes hit his 23rd homer. Right fielder Edgar Gonzalez dived for the ball and barely missed it, rolling over in pain as Barmes circled the bases behind Ian Stewart, who had walked, with his second career inside-the-park homer.
Gonzalez's left shoulder popped out but popped right back in. He said he's sore but will be OK in a couple of days. ... Rockies LF Carlos Gonzalez strained his left hamstring leading off the bottom of the first with a triple. He was lifted an inning later as a precaution. ... Mujica allowed six runs on eight hits in 2 2-3 innings. ... Barmes' other inside-the-park home run came on May 8, 2005, at Florida.