Clay Hensley and Trevor Hoffman ended major Colorado threats in the seventh and ninth innings respectively and the Padres held on to defeat the Rockies, 8-3, giving Greg Maddux (6-8) his third consecutive victory.
In relief of Maddux, Mike Adams had entered the game in the seventh with runners on first and second and no outs and the Pads leading 6-1. After getting a fly-ball out, Adams (et tu, Mike?) proceeded to walk the next two batters, thus forcing in a run. With the tying run at the plate, manager Buddy Black then summoned Hensley, who put out the fire created by Adams by inducing an inning-ending double play with his second pitch.
In the top of the eighth inning, Adrian Gonzalez made the score 8-2 by clubbing his 28th home run of the year with Luis Rodriguez on base. At that point, it should’ve been smooth sailing for the Padres in the ninth, right? That was certainly the case last year when the Pads had one of the best bullpens, if not THE best, in the majors. This year it’s a completely different story; every outing is an adventure.
One of the club’s least effective relievers of late, Bryan Corey, took the mound in the ninth. After he surrendered consecutive base hits without recording an out, Black and one of the Padre trainers went to the mound and ultimately determined that Corey had some kind of a physical ailment. Enter Clay Meredith — another one of the Padre relievers who has fallen on tough times. Garret Atkins hit Meredith’s first pitch into the left-field corner for a double, sending one runner to the plate and another to third base. That made the score 8-3, Padres, and there were still no outs. Meredith then proceeded to walk the next batter to load the bases, thus creating a save situation. An exasperated-looking Buddy Black, who had already worn out a path between the visitor’s dugout and the pitcher’s mound, then yanked Meredith and brought in his closer, Trevor Hoffman. With the tying run in the on-deck circle, Hoffman struck out the first Colorado batter he faced and got the next one to line into a double play — thus preserving Maddux’s 353rd career win while earning his 25th save of the season.
The Padre bats ended Aaron Cook’s dominance of San Diego by touching him up for 10 hits and 6 runs in his 5 2/3 innings of work. Luis Rodriguez and Kevin Kouzmanoff had 3 hits apiece and Chase Headley contributed 2 while knocking in a pair of runs. Even Maddux got in on the act when he drove in a run by laying down a perfect bunt with two outs in the top of the sixth.
In the series finale today, the Padres send Chris Young (4-4, 4.06) up against Livan Hernandez (10-8, 5.48), who’s making his first start for the Rockies since being acquired from Minnesota in a waiver deal.